H20 NO! Polito Ave., Lyndhurst, experiences significant floods

A significant flood caused by heavy rain and construction work kept Polito Avenue from Rutherford Avenue to Wall Street in Lyndhurst closed much of last week — through Sunday, Nov. 8 — and caused quite a headache for businesses in the area, Det. Lt. Vincent Auteri, the public-information officer of the Lyndhurst Police Department, told The Observer.

Following heavy rain — which happened two weeks ago — Auteri says the water generally “recedes quickly,” but it appeared the rainwaters didn’t this go-round.

“We got a sense something was wrong after the water didn’t recede quickly after the rain,” Auteri said.

So what exactly happened to cause the flooding last week?

Auteri says engineers said during “dynamic compaction” a “corrugated culvert pipe broke ” at a construction site on Polito Avenue.

The Federal Department of Transportation calls dynamic compaction a method used to “improve weak ground deposits” including that of “natural occurring soils,” “landfill deposits,” “building rubble,” “partially saturated clay fill deposits” and “collapsible soils.”

As of Thursday, Nov. 5, a private crew was on-site working to make the necessary repairs. The project was being overseen by the Township of Lyndhurst and Neglia Engineering, the township’s official engineering firm.

Auteri says the flooding caused water levels 2-feet high in most areas to as high as 3.5-feet in smaller areas.

Since some of the property in question is owned by the New Jersey Sports & Exposition Authority, officials from that state agency were also supervising the repairs meant to get the water to fully recede.

The Lyndhurst Office of Emergency Management, Bergen Count OEM, the NJ State Police, Lyndhurst Department of Public Works and Parks Department were also assisting.

The closure of the road required the re-routing of several bus routes as well as regular traffic in the area. Medieval Times is not open, so its business was not deterred by the flooding, but Auteri says a few hotels in the area, an eatery, a daycare center and an office complex “may have had a difficult time” during the closure.

When the floods first began, following the rains, several drivers attempted to navigate the flood waters, despite the road signage indicating closure. Police had to rescue at least two civilians whose vehicles got stuck in the 2-foot high water.

“Fortunately, no one was injured,” Auteri said.

The same probably couldn’t be said for the vehicles, which couldn’t be towed until the water recedes, according to Auteri.

“The civilians who were helped had no choice but to abandon their cars,” he said.

As of presstime, Monday, Nov. 9, Clay Avenue remains closed as repair work continues, Auteri says.

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Kevin A. Canessa Jr. is the editor of and broadcaster at The Observer, a place where he has served on and off since 2006. He is responsible for the editorial content of the newspaper and website, the production of the e-Newspaper, writing several stories per week (including the weekly editorial), conducting live broadcasts on Facebook Live, including a weekly recap of the news — and much more behind the scenes. Between 2006 and 2008, he introduced the newspaper to its first-ever blog — which included podcasts, audio and video. Originally from Jersey City, Kevin lived in Kearny until 2004, lived in Port St. Lucie. Florida, for four years until February 2016 and in March of that year, he moved back to West Hudson to return to The Observer full time. Click Here to send Kevin an email.