Brooklyn Heights

Squibb Park Bridge to reopen next spring, 50 percent less bouncy

July 14, 2016 By Mary Frost Brooklyn Daily Eagle
After being shut down roughly two years ago, “bouncy” Squibb Park Bridge, zig-zagging downward from Brooklyn Heights to Brooklyn Bridge Park, will be undergoing repairs. Shown: An engineering team assesses the stability of the bridge.  Photo by Mary Frost
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After being shut down roughly two years ago, bouncy Squibb Park Bridge, zig-zagging downward from Brooklyn Heights to Brooklyn Bridge Park, will undergo repairs, park officials told The New York Times.

Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation’s (BBPC) board will be asked to approve the work when it meets this fall. The bridge should reopen sometime next spring, park officials told the Times.

The popular wooden bridge, which bounced distinctively when people walked on it, was designed by MacArthur “genius”-winner Ted Zoli. Zoli’s firm, HNTB Corporation, is being sued by the park.

The engineering firm Arup will be designing a plan to fix the bridge, officials told the Times. The fix will involve, among other things, securing the connections between the timber trusses beneath the bridge and the suspension cables.

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Doing so will improve the stability of the bridge and reduce the bounce by about 50 percent.

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.

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.

Last August, state Sen. Daniel Squadron, Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon and Councilmember Stephen Levin sent a joint letter to Regina Myer, president of BBPC, requesting answers. Squadron has been critical of the park for its lack of transparency.

“A clear path forward for Squibb Park Bridge’s reopening is critical,” Squadron told the Eagle on Thursday. “I look forward to continued updates on progress, and the reopening of an important park access point.”

The park did not supply an assessment of the bridge’s design problems to the Times.

In documents obtained by the Times through the Freedom of Information Act, however, Zoli provided a memorandum to the park corporation, in which he wrote that two of the spans were “noticeably distorted,” with one “twisted toward the south” and another “twisted toward the north.” In addition, wooden planks on the bridge’s deck were damaged by the pressure.

An engineer takes a measurement of a timber support. Photo by Mary Frost

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