UNION CITY, NORTH BERGEN -- The busy, four-way intersection at Kennedy Boulevard and 32nd Street that runs through Union City and North Bergen has been a hazard to pedestrians for over a decade. So much so, the matter has been the stuff of political platforms for just as long.
Union City Mayor Brian Stack began the crusade for the building of a pedestrian bridge across the boulevard as a freeholder in 2000, after which Freeholder Tilo Rivas followed suit.
“There has been a need for a pedestrian bridge for years,” Stack said. “There have been numerous accidents, and in particular, senior citizens and women with strollers have had a difficult time making it across before the light changes.”
Twelve years later, two steel structural columns are finally being erected: one on the North Bergen side by the Fritz Reuter retirement community center, and one on the Union City side near the Kennedy Center mall and the Ihop.
The columns will support a covered pedestrian bridge that will usher people safely across Kennedy Boulevard as soon as August, Hudson County Engineer Demetrio Arencibia said last week.
A $4.7 million grant from the Federal Highway Administration was authorized in November 2010, and Flanagan’s Contracting Group of Hillsborough, N.J. won the bid for the project.
Discussion concerning the naming of the bridge is also underway.
“This is a well-needed, long-awaited bridge,” Stack said. “It will save a lot of lives, stop a lot of accidents from taking place, and will benefit shoppers on both sides.”
For more details, read this weekend's edition of the Reporter. -- Gennarose Pope