Bridge Repairs Jeopardizing Business At Iconic Long Island Clam Bar

ISLAND PARK, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — An iconic Long Island clam bar hopes it can withstand the loss of business during safety repairs to a nearby bridge.

As CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan reported, the clams and oysters at Peter’s Clam Bar are fresh, but they’re not selling, and it may be because of what’s right out their front door.

“We came here all the way from the Bronx just to get some good seafood,” patron Elin Kim said.

Bob Engel tells CBS2 he thought the building was closed, so they had to make a U-turn.

At first glance, it looks like the building is under construction and fenced off. But it is really part of ongoing repairs to the Barnum Island Bridge.

Spanning the channel to Oceanside since 1925, recent Nassau County inspections revealed unsafe structural issues.

“We were able to get federal money in order to be able to replace the bridge, and that’s what we are doing right now,” Nassau County legislator Denise Ford said. “We really feel bad about its impact on local businesses.”

The county put up signs that nearby businesses are open. Recently, the contractor Grace Industries had to erect additional fencing. As a result, the 75-year-old routine of pulling over from the bridge and grabbing to-go is now temporarily off-limits.

“A lot of people think we are closed,” restaurant manager Pepe Poblador said. “Just a nightmare, trying to get into the parking lot. We got a couple of big accidents already.”

The clam bar had to be rebuilt after it was nearly destroyed in Superstorm Sandy. Now, incessant jackhammering has created breaks and cracks in the foundation, the marble bar, and more.

The staff claims business is also down fifty percent.

“We can’t even open the windows,” Poblador said. “Debris coming in, have to clean two or three times a day.”

Assistant manager Brendan Lynch says he wants the county to help nearby businesses out.

“We are hurting,” he said. “They told us in the beginning they weren’t going to do this until October.”

Although the bridge rebuild was to last through April, the contractors tell CBS2 they are ahead of schedule and the construction inconvenience could be over by the first of the year.

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