Will Squibb Bridge bounce back? Brooklyn officials push for answers
Bouncy Squibb Park Bridge, zig-zagging downward from Brooklyn Heights to Brooklyn Bridge Park, is still out of commission after an entire year, and increasingly impatient local officials are pushing the park to provide an explanation for the delay.
The $5 million pedestrian bridge was closed on Aug. 11, 2014 after the cables supporting it began to sag and the wooden walkway tilted south at the Squibb Park end.
On Aug. 7, state Sen. Daniel Squadron, Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon and Councilmember Stephen Levin sent a joint letter to Regina Myer, president of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation (BBPC) requesting answers.
“We are concerned that as we approach the one year anniversary of the bridge’s closure, anticipated reopening dates have continually been pushed back, a reopening timeline has not been firmly established, and no clear explanation for the delay has been provided,” the letter reads in part.
“We request clarification on the specific status of current inspections, any additional inspections required thereafter, the parties responsible for these inspections, and a timeline for each of these steps and full reopening,” officials added. (See brooklyneagle.com for the full letter.)
BBPC told The New York Times in July that the bridge is “currently undergoing final inspections and awaiting occupancy permits from the city.” No further explanation has been provided by the park since then, giving rise to speculation on the causes for the delay.
A spokesperson for Sen. Squadron told the Brooklyn Eagle that park officials have confirmed receipt of the letter, but have not yet responded.
BBPC originally said the closure was expected to last several weeks. In October 2014, however, the park said the bridge would not reopen until spring of 2015. In April, park spokesperson Belinda Cape told the Eagle the park hoped to have the bridge open by late spring. The opening date was then pushed back to sometime in August.
In March, the park board approved $700,000 for the repairs to the bridge. The board has since agreed to release a public incident report on the bridge’s misalignment, and also to pursue recovery of repair costs from any responsible parties.
In the absence of concrete information, conspiracy theories abound.
A commenter on the Brooklyn Heights Blog (who calls himself Jorale-man) wrote, “I actually think they had to close it because it’s simply too close to the construction, and there’s no way to build a protective shed over it.”
Another (named Druce), joked that he or she was “Inquiring with NASA about getting some time on the Hubble telescope,” in order to solve the mystery.
A commenter (named Studio Brooklyn) saw a darker motive.
“I think the bridge was, and will remain, closed in order to ensure a barrier is maintained between commoners and those who feel their investment in the Pierhouse entitles them to a degree of separation from the walking public, particularly where park traffic near their windows is concerned,” he or she wrote.
Brooklyn Bridge Park did not comment by press time. Check back for updates.
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