Brooklyn Heights

New metal Squibb Bridge design to be presented at CB2

April 15, 2019 Mary Frost
The 450-foot bridge presents some great views of the Manhattan skyline. Rendering courtesy of Arup

A new, metal Squibb Bridge is on its way to Brooklyn Heights.

Brooklyn Bridge Park President Eric Landau will be presenting at a Community Board 2 committee meeting tonight new plans for the long-troubled bridge, which connects Brooklyn Heights to the park — when it’s actually in operation.

The once-popular 450-foot-long wooden bridge will be replaced with a traditional steel-and-aluminum pedestrian bridge, utilizing the existing ground support structures, Landau said in a statement. Completion is scheduled for the summer of 2020.

The footbridge, which zig-zags to the park from Squibb Park off Columbia Heights, opened in 2013 but was shut down on Aug. 11, 2014, after the cables supporting it began to sag and the wooden walkway tilted south at the Squibb Park side.

Designed by HNTB Corporation, Squibb Bridge originally cost $4.1 million. HNTB is headed by MacArthur “genius”-winner Ted Zoli. The underslung suspension bridge, constructed of black locust, was considered unique in design and thousands enjoyed its bouncy nature — including children and large dogs, who could set it off by jumping and running along its span.

Brooklyn Bridge Park sued HTNB over the closure, and the lawsuit was eventually settled for close to $2 million.

Rendering courtesy of Arup
Rendering courtesy of Arup

In January 2016, BBP hired global engineering firm Arup to plan and oversee $3 million in repairs. After being shut down for 2.5 years, the bridge reopened to applause in April 2017. It was less bouncy but more stable, engineers from Arup told the Brooklyn Eagle at that time.

The newly repaired bridge had an expected 25- to 30-year life cycle, engineers said. But it was closed for a second time in August 2018 after rotting wood was discovered.

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The new bridge will cost $6.5 million, a sum that will come out of the park’s capital reserve fund, according to Curbed.

Complications ahead include the upcoming construction of a pool in Squibb Park, expected to begin next year, and the planned rehabilitation of the BQE. How the $5 billion BQE rehab, expected to last six to eight years, will affect Squibb Bridge depends on which construction option is chosen for the project.

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