The Atlantic Beach Bridge is a 153-foot (47 m) long toll drawbridge carrying NY 878, connecting Lawrence and Atlantic Beach (Park Street), New York, while passing over the west end of Reynolds Channel. The bridge also provides direct access to the Rockaway Peninsula via Seagirt Boulevard.
The toll is $2.00 (USD) for vehicles under 5 tons (10,000 lb) in each direction as of January 1, 2007. Vehicles over 5 tons are $2 per axle. E-ZPass is not accepted. An annual decal for Nassau County residents is $130.00 USD.
The original bridge opened on June 29, 1927, and had a vertical clearance of only 13 feet (4.0 m). Traffic bottlenecked as populations grew on both sides of the bridge in the 1940s. On October 14, 1950, Governor Thomas E. Dewey drove the first pile for the new Atlantic Beach Bridge. To accommodate the new six-lane span, Nassau County and New York City spent $2.5 million for approach road rights-of-way. The new Atlantic Beach Bridge, designed by Hardesty & Hanover, opened to traffic on May 10, 1952, at a cost of $9.5 million. Soon after the new span opened, the old bridge was demolished. It was and is now 1,173 feet (358 m) long with a 33-foot (10 m) vertical clearance. In 1998, a $19 million project was begun to bring the bridge up to federal standards. It involved the reconstruction of the approaching roadways and replacement of the existing concrete bridge deck. The project was completed in November 2000.
There have been allegations of patronage since the inception of the Nassau County Bridge Authority, which was created by the New York Legislature in 1945 to manage the bridge. Though the construction costs of the bridge have long since been paid off, the tolls remain. A 1999 audit of the agency by New York State Comptroller Carl McCall found many instances of patronage and mismanagement. The authority failed to seek competitive work for engineering work. In 1997, 71% of the bridges budget was spent on personnel. The Authority continues to resist toll conversion to E-ZPass, because this would necessitate accounting of toll monies.