Friday, September 7, 2012

Harold J. Dillard Bridge

   The old Court St. bridge is now gone. In it's place is a refurbish span to be called the L/Cpl Harold J. Dillard Bridge. Named for the  for the first citizen from Hackensack to lose his life in the Vietnam War, the 1908 structure was reopened, and rededicated today. After over two years and $19 million, most of which came from the Federal Stimulus program, the Dillard Bridge has been opened for all traffic. With some of the original structure reused for the new span, the Bridge has a wider road bed, and more stable pedestrian walk-way. The two truss are part of the structure have been reused, while most of the other parts have been replace by modern elements. The centre pivot was replace which will allow the bridge could swing open in the future. This added to the final cost of the reconstruction, but with the status of the old Record  site still in the air the need for a bridge that could allow water craft to have access to it's waterfront has been included to the new span. The bridge has been painted to match the original flint grey of the 1908 span.
   On the Hackensack side of the river, next to the south side of the abutment, some of the original structure has been saved. Behind a section of the old railing is part of the gearing that allowed the bridge to swing open. The original dedication plaque has affixed to the side of the abutment.  There is also an old street light over looking the saved gears. On the Northern side of this abutment the gate keepers house has also been restored. To honour it's name-sake signs have been placed on both ends of the bridge showing it's new name, The L/Cpl  Harold J. Dillard  Memorial Bridge. The is also a brass plaque on the Northern walkway on the Hackensack side of the bridge that also honours L/Cpl Dillard.
  With the opening of the Harold J. Dillard Bridge both Bogota, and Hackensack can move forward on much needed projects. For the time that the bridge was closed to traffic the business along the lower section of W. Ft Lee could fully function. As well as the safety hazard to that area if a train was stopped at the crossing. There is now an opportunity to see what can be done with the Fuda Tile Building, as well as the lot now used to store cars for Enterprise retail. Another positive sign is that there is some work being done on 299 W. Ft Lee Rd to make it more attractive for use. On the Hackensack side of the river, the old Bergen Record Building has been the talk of numerous idea, none of which seemed to be moving along. With the opening of the Harold J. Dillard Bridge there is a chance to build up the surrounding area of both communities.

The Bogota approach

The Hackensack approach

The new bridge and support structures over the Hackensack River 

Signs showing the new name to honour L/Cpl Dillard.

The gap that will allow the bridge to swing open

An old street light

The original dedication plaque

Some of the original fencing...

...and pivoting gears

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