City updates waterfront walkway with comprehensive historical timeline

City of Hoboken announces:


Based on guidance from Boswell Engineering, the City’s engineer, Mayor Dawn Zimmer has decided to close additional sections of the waterfront in the interest of public safety. The City Council was informed of the decision on Wednesday evening.

The Waterfront Walkway north and east of the Hudson Tea Building will be closed to pedestrian traffic. Additionally, the short section of the promenade from the southern entrance of Pier A south to Warrington Plaza, which is owned by New Jersey Transit, will also be closed to pedestrian traffic.

The City is arranging for divers to inspect the entire waterfront.

Understanding Hoboken’s Waterfront Crisis
Since the recent collapse at Sinatra Drive North, the Zimmer Administration has been working with County officials to ensure that the roadway section is repaired for the long term utilizing modern repair methods and materials such as concrete and steel. The roadway was originally built upon very old timber construction dating back to the early 1900’s. An internal inquiry, following the recent collapse, found that there were at least two previous collapses along Sinatra Drive North in 1998 and in 2002 when marine grade plywood was placed on the deteriorating wood platform of the aged timber structure. A timeline of findings from the inquiry is included below. The Zimmer Administration is working with all waterfront property owners to determine exactly which sections of the roadway are built on land and which sections are built on pier structures and is taking steps to assess the condition of all waterfront structures.

Boswell Engineering is working closely with Hudson County to ensure the safest repair methods are used. A community meeting will be held soon in the 2nd Ward to discuss this matter and answer questions from concerned residents.



Wood Advisory Services, Inc warns the Russo Administration of wood boring shipworm (“Teredos”) problem in the existing wood pilings along the waterfront at Castle Point Park, on which Hoboken’s portion of the Hudson River Waterfront Walkway was about to be built. They also cite “appreciable losses in structural capacity.” One year later, DEP receives a memo from Schoor DePalma recommending steel pilings instead of timber.
[Wood Advisory Services report (pdf, September 12, 1995)]

A memo from former Russo Administration Human Services Director Robert Drasheff references a Boswell Engineering report of an underwater investigation of Castle Point Park which says that the “general condition” of the timber relieving platform at Castle Point Park “is considered poor” and that “marine borer (Teredo) tunnels were also noted in several piles and pile caps, further confirming that the platform has surpassed its usefulness.” Additionally, it notes that “laboratory analysis confirmed that the piles are soft and have lost much of their structural capacity.” The report recommended removing and replacing the timber relieving platform.
[Drasheff Memo and Boswell Engineering report (pdf, October 5, 1995)]


Sinatra Drive North road is built by Hudson County. Union Paving was the contractor for the job, and the design was done by PMK Group.


First collapse of Sinatra Drive North, according to Applied Companies and Hudson County. Repairs completed by Applied Housing on behalf of Hudson County. The Zimmer Administration has requested additional information about this incident to review its correlation with the current collapse along Sinatra Drive North.
[No documentation with respect to nature of repairs available to date]


Russo Administration enters the City of Hoboken into a contract with the State of New Jersey, Division of Property Management and Construction (DPMC) and the State of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection to build the Waterfront Walkway at Castle Point Park.
[Castle Point Walkway Agreement (pdf, February 10, 2000)]


Second collapse of Sinatra Drive North. Repairs performed by Union Paving. Design and inspection performed by PMK. JT Cleary, Inc. and PMK performed inspections in the area and submitted reports to Applied Companies. Marine grade plywood was recommended and utilized for the repairs (See photos).
[J.T. Cleary report to Applied Companies (pdf, June 25, 2002)]
[PMK report to Applied Companies (pdf, August 16, 2002)]


Conviction of Applied Developer Joseph Barry and Hudson County Executive Robert Janiszewski for bribery in connection with application for $8.8 million in federal transportation funds related to the Sinatra Drive North/Shipyard project. Cooperation from Janiszewski assisted government in successful corruption prosecution of former Mayor Anthony Russo.
[Hudson County Waterfront Developer Joseph Barry and Janiszewski “Consultant” Indicted, Taken Into Custody (Department of Justice press release, October 15, 2003)]
[Hudson County Waterfront Developer Joseph Barry Sentenced to 25 Months for Making Cash Payments to Janiszewski (Department of Justice press release, October 21, 2004)]
[Hudson County Waterfront Developer Joseph Barry Admits Making $114,900 in Cash Payments to Janiszewski (Department of Justice press release, June 22, 2004)]
[Former Hudson County Executive Janiszewski Sentenced to 41 Months for Corruption
(Department of Justice press release, March 24, 2005)]
[“Big House For Barry” (The Jersey Journal, October 22, 2004)]
[Developer Joseph Barry pleads guilty Admits to $114,900 in illegal cash payments to former county exec (The Hudson Reporter, June 25, 2004)]


Schoor DePalma writes memo to Roberts Administration regarding Castle Point Bulkhead Failure with suggested course of action including creating an inventory and investigating all “properties that were constructed on the timber relief platforms.” The memo also notes a “minor failure” of the Waterfront Walkway along the soccer field.
[Memo from Schoor DePalma (pdf, November 27, 2006)]


Castle Point Park Walkway collapses (March, 2007)

Roberts Administration advised of wood boring shipworm problem at Castle Point Park.
[Memo from Michael J. Korman (pdf, June 14, 2007)]


Frank Sinatra Walkway collapses (September, 2009)

Acting Mayor Zimmer implements emergency measures to protect integrity of soccer field and begins grant-funding search to pay for repairs.
[Letter from Mayor Zimmer to Congressman Sires re: funding for Sinatra Field and Castle Point Park (pdf, December 19, 2009)]
[Hoboken Addresses Sinatra Park Collapse (press release, September 23, 2009)]
[Sinatra Field Walkway Damage Update (press release, October 7, 2009)]
[Update on Sinatra Soccer Field from Mayor Dawn Zimmer (press release, October 29, 2009)]
[Mayor Zimmer Seeks Public Support For Waterfront Walkway Reconstruction Funding (press release, March 11, 2010)]

·         Thanks to support from Senator Lautenberg, Senator Menendez, and Congressman Sires, $1 million in federal money has been committed, but not fully secured at this time.[Lautenberg, Menendez: Senate Panel Approves $200 Million for Arc Tunnel; Bill Would Invest Multiple Transportation Improvements, Community Development Projects Lautenberg/Menendez press release (press release, July 22, 2010)]
·         Thanks to support from County Executive Tom DeGise, $500,000 from the Hudson County Open Space Trust Fund has been recommended for the reconstruction of the Waterfront Walkway.[The future of open space; $6.5 million expected to fund 17 projects this year, (Hudson Reporter, October 3, 2010)]

Zimmer Administration also begins search for new City engineer. Maser Consulting selected in early 2010, but donation by firm to Peter Cammarano requires extended search process for selection of another firm.


Spring 2010
Boswell Engineering selected by search team and appointed by City Council.

Summer 2010

SubTerra Geoservices LLC conducts a geophysical investigation study for Applied Development Company on June 9, 2010 “to determine if voids in the subsurface may be present at the site.” Report to Applied identifies “anomalous areas” in the data collected “that appears to be indicative of the possible subsurface voids or other structures in several locations at the site.”
[SubTerra Geoservices report (pdf, June 21, 2010) – report not provided to Zimmer Administration until October 13, 2010]

Spring-Fall 2010

Boswell Engineering completes all geotechnical studies for Sinatra Park and Castle Point Park Walkway. Firm finalizes plans for both projects and conducts series of meetings with DEP in advance of final application in early December. Boswell Engineering completes overlay view of Hoboken’s waterfront, expanding to include roadways as well as walkways.
[Hoboken Takes Additional Preventive Measures Regarding Sinatra Drive North (press release, October 13, 2010)]
[Update On Sinatra Drive North, Castle Point Park And Sinatra Park (press release, October 20, 2010)]

Fall 2010

Mayor Zimmer to hold series of community meetings to discuss collapse at Sinatra Drive North and ask for community’s help with expediting approval process by the DEP for Sinatra Park.


All documentation noted in this article can be found on the above link to the City of Hoboken website.  The Editor

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