Route 59 floods again, creating massive delays as drivers diverted through parking lot

A shallow, windy stretch of the Hackensack River once again blew its banks, merged with a pond just south of the state route and sent a foot of water rushing over the eastbound lanes.

Ben Nandy

Apr 4, 2024, 4:52 PM

Updated 48 days ago

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Drivers trying to head east behind the Palisades Mall on Route 59 Thursday came upon a familiar commute killer when they found themselves stuck in traffic in a familiar grocery store parking lot.
A shallow, windy stretch of the Hackensack River once again blew its banks, merged with a pond just south of the state route and sent a foot of water rushing over the eastbound lanes.
Police on scene said the flooding usually takes most of the day to recede following a storm.
The parking lot of the Shoprite just west of the closure saw a steady but painfully slow line of passenger cars and giant commercial trucks.
The driver of a car hauler truck had to carefully maneuver the vehicle to exit the lot, as the traffic light turned green, then red, then green again and drivers behind him honked.
"It's very annoying actually," said Miranda, who was already late for work with a ten-minute wait in the parking lot still to go. "I work at the Palisades Mall, so I constantly have to go that way and go over that ramp that floods with the little pond-river situation over there."
The "pond-river situation" happened 16 times last year because the Hackensack kept easily jumping its banks.
Clarkstown Town Supervisor George Hoehmann has been hounding the state and federal governments to start long-term flood mitigation projects, such as dredging the river.
The New York state Department of Transportation will receive federal funds secured by Rep. Mike Lawler to study flood mitigation in the area of Route 59 and 303, both state roads that the town does not control or maintain.
Upstream, by Jeffrey Court, backyards are like swamps.
Homeowners here have been prepared all week.
"It comes all the way up to the house, and into this pit," Eric Holewinski said, pointing toward the steps down to his basement from the outside. "I try to sandbag the door because if I don't it will go underneath the door."
The flooding did not reach the house.
Residents told News 12 Thursday that other than sewage back-up in the road Wednesday night, the neighborhood survived quite well, much better than the higher-traffic area around the mall.


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