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Brooklyn Bridge Park completes $115M pier preservation project

December 20, 2022 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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Brooklyn Bridge Park completed a critical preventative maintenance project Tuesday to protect and preserve the formerly industrial piers that were transformed into parkland. About one-third of Brooklyn Bridge Park sits atop four piers, which are held up in the East River with approximately 13,000 timber wood piles.

The $115 million project began in 2019, encasing 80% of the piles, around 11,000, in protective epoxy before they began to deteriorate. The remaining 2,000 piles were repaired structurally, as they were too far along in deterioration to preventively maintain.

When the former industrial-use waterfront piers and facilities were built in the 1950’s and 1960’s, the pollution level in the City’s rivers made it inhabitable for marine life. As the City’s waterways have gotten significantly cleaner, marine life has returned, including marine borers which cause damage to timber wood piles on piers around the city. When construction on the park began in 2008, several piles had already deteriorated and needed to be structurally repaired.

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However, for the large percentage of piles that had not yet deteriorated, the Park opted for the preventative maintenance approach, where work is done before the piles begin to deteriorate and protects the piles from future damage. The preventative maintenance approach is beneficial from an engineering, environmental, and financial standpoint, minimizing impact on the maritime ecology as well as current and future park operations.

“Since its opening in 2010, Brooklyn Bridge Park has helped to set the standard of what beautiful public space in the city can look like,” said Chair of the Board of Brooklyn Bridge Park and NYC Deputy Mayor for Operations Meera Joshi.

Pier 3 is the latest pier to be converted into lush parkland. Eagle photo by Mary Frost
Pier 3. Eagle photo by Mary Frost

“Brooklyn Bridge Park completed this $115 million marine preservation project on time and under budget—a praiseworthy accomplishment! I would like to congratulate the team at Brooklyn Bridge Park for this achievement and I look forward to New Yorkers enjoying the park for generations to come.”

“Brooklyn Bridge Park and the joy it brings to our borough is here to stay,” said Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso.

“The spectacular beauty of Brooklyn Bridge Park is only matched by the impressive creativity deployed in encasing the pilings that uphold our piers,” said Councilmember Lincoln Restler.

“This vital $114M project will ensure our park is protected long term from marine borers and other potential threats, so that Brooklynites can enjoy this magnificent green space for decades to come.”

“Congratulations to Brooklyn Bridge Park on the completion of this massive preventative maintenance project to ensure the integrity of the piers. These types of projects aren’t always flashy, but they are critical to preserving public access to this unique park – a third of which sits atop four piers, which allows the community to enjoy a world-class park with striking waterfront views. Thank you to Brooklyn Bridge Park for being a good steward of this land so New Yorkers can safely enjoy the outdoors,” said Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon.

During the planning of Brooklyn Bridge Park in the early 2000’s, a mandate was included that the Park be financially self-sustaining. This was necessary in large part because of the extensive maritime infrastructure work required to ensure the Park’s ongoing structural integrity.

This pile field on Brooklyn Bridge Park’s shoreline draws lots of photographers at sunset. Photo: Lore Croghan/Brooklyn Eagle
This pile field on Brooklyn Bridge Park’s shoreline draws lots of photographers at sunset. Photo: Lore Croghan/Brooklyn Eagle

The maintenance required at Brooklyn Bridge Park is more difficult and more costly than maintaining a typical, non-waterfront public park, given the harsh marine environment, the underwater repair work requiring divers, and doing the work while the park is in use.

BBP’s unique financial model ensures funds could be allocated implement a cost-effective, sustainable, and responsible maintenance plan for the Park’s maritime infrastructure. Jacobs Engineering Group oversaw the preventative maintenance project at Brooklyn Bridge Park. The marine contractors selected for the project were Reicon Group and Phoenix Marine.

“I’m thrilled that the critical maintenance to the piers that support a huge swath of our parkland has been completed, promising future generations the place to play, enjoy the fresh air, and spend time with family and friends. Thank you to all those who worked hard over the past few years to shore up the resilience of our beloved park infrastructure.”

“The completion of this crucial project is a major milestone for the Park,” said Eric Landau, Brooklyn Bridge Park President. “For almost a decade and a half, Brooklyn Bridge Park has been an oasis of green space and enjoyment for millions, and finishing this project ensures its ongoing existence well into the future.”


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