By ADMIR DURAKOVIC
(TEANECK) – After years of waiting, the Hackensack Footbridge is about to get a makeover.
Actual improvements are yet to begin, but test borings are being done to understand “exactly the condition of the piles and the piers that are down in the river, before we put anything on it,” said Richard Frick, vice president for facilities and auxiliary services.
“We are in the process of engineering for a new bridge,” Frick said. “When we get a little further down the road with that, we also have significant approval processes that we need to go through for that. This is part of what’s required for all the approvals.”
The workmen on the bridge are inspecting the condition of the foundation that extends 100 feet into the riverbed.
“There’s nothing to lead us to believe that what is in the water and below the riverbed is in poor condition, including the results of the first borings,” Frick said.
According to the facilities master plan, a makeover is long overdue.
“One of the things that became very clear in the facilities master plan was that the bridge was probably the least liked facility on this campus,” Frick said.
A goal of the new plan is for the bridge to be more visually appealing.
“One of the concepts of what we’re pursuing at this point, are to incorporate features found in the Manhattan High Line,” Frick said. “It is basically an old rail line that they converted into a walk path. They took something that wasn’t particularly attractive, and made it magnificent.”
However, Frick said there are some hurdles to overcome before the university’s plan can be realigned.
“Anything we do also needs to conform to current- day construction codes for bridges, including those over and in waterways,” Frick said.
“It is a little bit of a balancing act, and we’re dealing with a concept until we nish with the structural engineering pieces.”