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Sep 18, 2019 10:47 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Old Ponquogue Bridge Fishing Pier Closed For Additional Renovations

Surveyors were seen working at the Old Ponquogue Bridge pier on Friday morning. GREG WEHNER
Sep 18, 2019 11:48 AM

The newly renovated pier on the south end of the old Ponquogue Bridge is closed for more renovations, and Southampton Town officials say it won’t be open again until sometime in October.

The latest work, which was scheduled to begin on September 11 and take approximately a month to complete, includes reconstructing roughly 400 feet of a pedestrian pathway between the parking lot on the south side of the old bridge and the pier.

The walkway was described as “deteriorated” in a press release from the Town of Southampton last week.

To reconstruct the pathway, crews will remove the existing asphalt, elevate the pathway a foot, install new stones and create a large curb edge to stabilize the pathway.

On Friday, a sign was seen posted next to the entrance to the walkway to the pier notifying people that the pier was closed. Despite the sign, approximately five men were seen catching flounder and porgies from different parts of the pier.

Paul Ripperger of West Islip said he was fishing at the pier on Friday because it was his day off.

Within a minute of every line he dropped into the water, he would hook a porgie, reel it in and lift it over the wooden rail. Once landed, Mr. Ripperger would place the fish into his bucket and drop another bait into the water, only to repeat the ritual within the next minute.

That morning, Mr. Ripperger maxed out on the number of porgie he could keep — 30 fish.

When asked if he knew the pier was supposed to be closed, he said he saw the sign, but the walkway was open and he walked on.

The other fishermen on the pier also said they were aware, but it did not look like the closure was being enforced.

But by Saturday morning, a fence had been erected, and the access was blocked off to everyone.

The timing of the closure seemed questionable, as fishing is starting to heat up and the flounder season is coming to a close. “Unfortunately, there’s never going to be a great time to close the piers,” Town Parks Director Kristen Doulos said on Tuesday. “There’s always going to be some kind of fishing season going on. We just have to get it done. We can’t wait for wintertime.”

Bryan Bortzfield, the assistant parks director, said when it gets too cold, the asphalt cannot be put down, and many of the asphalt plants close down for the season.

He also explained that even though the allotted construction time is one month, there is a good chance it could be done sooner.

“I know for some people it’s an inconvenience right now, but, like I said, there’s always going to be some kind of fishing season going on,” Ms. Doulos said. “We also have the north side piers that are open, and there’s fish down at the inlet, so those are two very good spots for catching flounder.”

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