Patterson Bridge dedicated in Hillsdale

September 29, 2014

A new bridge across the Pascack Brook in Hillsdale was dedicated last week to David P. Patterson, an early founder of the borough. “In rededicating the bridge to David P. Patterson you really are telling the story of Hillsdale,” said Councilman Frank Pizzela, crediting the 19th century businessman for bringing the railroad to Hillsdale, building the first store and hotel, and planning the first property plots.

Construction to replace the bridge built in 1926 that previously connected Patterson Street to Glendale Drive began in November 2013. Mayor Max Arnowitz praised the project for being completed ahead of schedule, thanking project engineer Chris Statile and contractors Montana Construction Corp.

“This is the first and only ever project [in Hillsdale] that ever got done before the anticipated completion date,” Arnowitz said of his 40-years living in the borough. Councilman Larry Meyerson also called the project a success. “It came out great, looks beautiful, came in ahead of schedule: It doesn’t get any better than that,” Meyerson said.

Arnowitz thanked area merchants for tolerating the work. Patterson street, bordering the borough post office and Friendly’s restaurant, had been closed for nearly a year while construction was underway, which also blocked a primary accessway to the adjacent Kings shopping center.

On Sept. 22 at the ceremony, traffic could be seen moving well on the newly designed street, which now curves, allowing traffic to and from Hillsdale Avenue to proceed to the shopping center without negotiating any turns or stop signs. Glendale Avenue now extends across the bridge to a stop sign.

The $1.7 million bridge project was funded by Bergen County and designed by the borough. Arnowitz said the need to replace the old bridge was apparent in 1999 during Hurricane Floyd – a storm that infamously wrecked havoc in Hillsdale due to flooding of the Pascack Brook. Arnowitz said, during Floyd, he stood on the old bridge as the brook raged underneath – then he felt it move. “I was standing on it and the bridge actually started moving... [I thought] We’ve got to do something because this is scary,” he recalled. “The process and the wheels turn slow, but now we’ve got our new bridge and it’s safe and sound.”

The new bridge is not expected to impact potential flooding events. Large rocks have been added on the stream bank below the bridge.

Plantings will be installed after Oct. 15, said Arnowitz. The governing body must now decide whether to make changes to Beechwood Drive, a street that represents the other entrance to the Glendale Park neighborhood. Beechwood, formerly a one-way street, has been open to two-way traffic while the bridge has been closed for the last year.

Arnowitz said Beechwood Drive will remain open to two-way traffic until the Church Road/Woodcliff Lake Dam rehabilitation project concludes. The mayor supports keeping the street open to two way traffic, hearing support from about five residents in Glendale Park and more throughout the borough; but Arnowitz did say a recent report from the borough police department recommended returning the street to a one-way configuration. Bergen County Executive Kathleen Donovan and County Freeholder Maura DeNicola also joined the dedication ceremony. Bergen County financed the bridge and technically owns the roadway.

“I remember being here after ...all the dreadful, terrible flooding that was down this way. This desperately needed to be done and I’m glad we got it done,” said Donovan. “It’s pretty, too; it looks nice. I’m glad for Hillsdale and I’m glad for Bergen County. It was the right thing to do.”