Court Street Bridge (Hackensack River)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Court Street Bridge
CourtStreetBridgeHackensck River2.JPG
Coordinates 40°52′45″N 74°02′22″W / 40.87907°N 74.03946°W / 40.87907; -74.03946Coordinates: 40°52′45″N 74°02′22″W / 40.87907°N 74.03946°W / 40.87907; -74.03946
Carries Court Street
West Fort Lee Road
Crosses Hackensack River
Locale Hackensack and Bogota,
New Jersey
Other name(s) Harold J. Dillard Memorial Bridge
Owner Bergen County
Design Swing
Material Steel
Total length 317 ft (97 m)
Width 27.5 ft (8.4 m)
Longest span 88.9 ft (27.1 m)
Number of spans 3
Vertical clearance 13.2 ft (4.0 m)
Clearance below 3 ft (0.91 m) mean high water
8 ft (2.4 m) mean low water[1]
Designer R. Earle
Constructed by R.F. Long and Company
Construction begin 1907
Construction end 1908
Opened 1908
Daily traffic 9,000[2]
Court Street Bridge is located in New York City
Court Street Bridge
Court Street Bridge
In the Port of New York and New Jersey 16.2 miles from the Newark Bay

The Court Street Bridge, also known as the Harold J. Dillard Memorial Bridge, is a vehicular movable bridge crossing the Hackensack River between Hackensack and Bogota in Bergen County, New Jersey, which owns it. Located 16.2 miles from the river mouth at Newark Bay, the swing bridge, which opened in 1908 and underwent major rehabilitation in 2010-2012, is the most-upstream bridge on the river required by federal regulations to open on request.

Background and environs[edit]

Originally the territory of the Hackensack tribe, the earliest European settlement near the site of the bridge was in 1641 at Achter Col, a short lived factorij (trading post) in what is now Bogota. Hackensack became the county seat of Bergen in the early 1700s,[6] A bridge at Old Bridge and later at New Bridge Landing and a ferry at Little Ferry were crossings created during the colonial era. The river later was at one time a major commercial waterway within the Port of New York and New Jersey.[6] The historic center of the town at the Green, site of the First Dutch Reformed Church is near the west end of the bridge. Government and administrative offices, including the Bergen County Court House, are also nearby. The New Jersey Naval Museum, home of the submarine USS Ling, is located on the west bank just upstream of the bridge.[3]

Design and historical significance[edit]

New Court Street Bridge

The Court Street Bridge is a center-bearing swing span Warren through truss bridge with two steel deck girder approach spans supported on a concrete substructure. A 1991-94 New Jersey Department of Transportation state-wide survey of bridges states: "The riveted through truss bridge is one of several swing-span crossings of the Hackensack River, an important navigable waterway instrumental in the growth and industrial development of Bergen County. Constructed in 1907, the span replaced an earlier swing-span bridge. The builder, F.R. Long Company, was a New York firm that was a prolific bridge contractor in Bergen County, and it incorporated in New Jersey in 1899 moving its major operations to Hackensack at a site adjacent to the bridge. Although the span has undergone some alterations, it is a well-preserved and operational example of the swing-span trusses over the Hackensack River built by a prominent contractor in Bergen County".[5]

In 1998, the New Jersey State Historic Preservation Office identified the bridge (ID#4555) as eligible for listing on the state and federal registers of historic places.[7]


Harold J. "Duke" Dillard had been a Hackensack High School star athlete. At the age of 20, the decorated lance corporal became the city’s first casualty in the Vietnam War when he was killed by artillery fire in battle on May 25, 1967.[8][9] The bridge was named in his honor a few years later. At re-dedication ceremonies held in 2011, a new plaque placed in his memory was unveiled on the newly reconstructed bridge.[2]

Rehabilitation and operations[edit]

Court Street Bridge is located in Bergen County, New Jersey
Court Street Bridge
Court Street Bridge
Court Street Bridge is located near the county seat of Bergen and the New Jersey Naval Museum

Major repairs to the bridge were conducted in 1950 and 1974. The timber fenders at the swing-span piers have been reconstructed several times. In 1950 the original concrete jack arch deck was replaced with a reinforced slab and the stringers were encased. In 1974 the truss lower chord was reinforced for its full length, plates were added at the bottom flanges of the end floor beams, and new stringer seat angle connections were added at the floor beams. While the original decorative metal railings were left intact on the approach spans, chain-link fences were placed along the sidewalks on the swing span.[5] While the bridge once had a load-carrying capacity of 20 tons, it was later limited to 3 tons because of rust and corrosion.[10]

As of 2010, approximately 9,000 motor vehicles crossed the Court Street Bridge annually.[2] The bridge was closed for 26 months for rehabilitation in 2010-2012,[11] and has almost entirely been reconstructed. Its substructure, including abutments and piers, as well as electric mechanisms for the swing span, were replaced. The original trusses were restored to maintain the bridge's historic appearance.[12] The project was largely funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.[13] which provided $17.2 million for the $19.8 million project.[9][14]

Court Street Bridge is the most upstream bridge over the Hackensack River required by federal regulations to open on request.[15] In 1999, the Code of Federal Regulations regarding bridge openings were changed at the request of Bergen County to require the bridge to open within four hours of a request, which had not occurred since 1994.[1][16] The decision to re-build the bridge was a matter of controversy since it is unlikely that a request will be forthcoming.[17] Freshwater flow in the Hackensack has been considerably altered by the Oradell Dam.[18] The river has only been channelized to a point at the Riverbend in Hudson County.[19] The accumulation of silt near the bridge affords navigation only for small boats.[17] The fate of the USS Ling may ultimately be connected to the ability for it to be moved from its location just north, or upstream, of the bridge.[20][21]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Coast Guard 33 CFR Part 117 Drawbridge Operation Regulations: Hackensack River, Passaic River, NJ" (PDF). Code of Federal Regulations Title 33 - Navigation and Navigable Waters Volume: 1. Government Publishing Office. November 11, 1999. Retrieved 2012-08-21. 
  2. ^ a b c Ensslin, John (September 7, 2012). "Bergen County to rededicate Court Street Bridge to war hero, Dillard". The Record. Retrieved 2012-10-20. 
  3. ^ a b Richman, Steven M. (2005), The Bridges of New Jersey, Rutgers University Press, p. 135, ISBN 0813535107 
  4. ^ "Masonry and Metal The Historic Bridges of Bergen County, New Jersey". Richard Grubb and Associates. 2008. Retrieved 2012-10-20. 
  5. ^ a b c d "Court Street Bridge over Hackensack River". Historic Bridge Survey (1991-1994). New Jersey Department of Transportation. 2001. p. 134. Retrieved 2012-10-20. 
  6. ^ a b Olsen, Kevin K. (2008), A Great Conveniency A Maritime History of the Passaic River, Hackensack River, and Newark Bay, American History Imprints, ISBN 9780975366776 
  7. ^ "New Jersey and National Registers of Historic Places". NJ DEP - State Historic Preservation Office. Retrieved 2012-08-21. 
  8. ^ "Harold Jerome Dillard 20E, 102". Vietanam Veterans Memorial Fund. Retrieved 2012-10-20. 
  9. ^ a b Ensslin, John (September 7, 2012). "Court Street Bridge reopens after $19.8 makeover". The Record. Retrieved 2012-10-20. 
  10. ^ Chen, David W. (May 5, 1996), "ROAD AND RAIL;State Is Trying to Make It Easier to Fix Bridges That Have a History", The New York Times, retrieved 2012-10-25 
  11. ^ Ensslin, John (September 30, 2012), "Many Bergen County bridges nearing end of lifespan", The Record, retrieved 2012-10-10 
  12. ^ Copley, Michael (April 28, 2012), "Court Street Bridge in Hackensack needed more repairs", The Record, retrieved 2012-10-20 
  13. ^ "Court Street, Bridge over the Hackensack River (#F509393)". FY 2010 Transportation Capital Program. NJDOT. Retrieved 2012-10-20. 
  14. ^ "Court Stret Bridge over Hackensack River". Transportation Improvement Program Fiscal Years 2010 - 2013. North Jersey Transportation Planning Assaociation. Retrieved 2012-11-11. 
  15. ^ "117.723 Hackensack River", Title 33: Navigation and Navigable Waters Part 117—Drawbridge Operations Regulations (US Government Printing Office), October 20, 2012, retrieved 2012-10-20 
  16. ^ Cichowksi, John (June 20, 2010), "Historic Bridge Getting Face-lift", The Record, retrieved 2012-10-20 
  17. ^ a b Kelly, Mike (August 12, 2012), "The bridge that may never swing Kelly: The bridge that may never swing", The Record, retrieved 2012-10-21 
  18. ^ Newark Bay/Hackensack River/Passaic River Study Area Report (PDF). Hudson-Raritan Estuary Environmental Restoration Feasibility (Report) (United States Army Corps of Engineers). June 2004. Retrieved 2012-10-21. 
  19. ^ Newark Bay, Hackensack and Passaic Rivers – Hackensack River, New Jersey (PDF). Report of Channel Conditions 100 to 400 Feet Wide (ER 1130-2-306) (Report). April 18, 2011. Retrieved 2012-10-21. 
  20. ^ Holl, John (February 11, 2007). "Retired Submarine, 63, Seeks Loving New Home". The New York Times. Retrieved 2012-10-21. 
  21. ^ FER. "The sad sub in the Hack". Submarine Museums. Retrieved 2012-10-21. 

External links[edit]