Two years after the Squibb Park Bridge was closed to pedestrians due to structural instability, the Brooklyn Bridge Park’s privately run board has approved a budget for repairs—and the number is not insignificant.
According to the Brooklyn Paper, the board voted Wednesday to allocate $3.12 million to the project. For those playing along at home, that is only $1 million less than it cost to build the whimsical bouncy bridge in the first place. If all goes according to plan, the more-expensive, less-wobbly span will reopen in the spring of 2017.
Then again, not much has gone according to plan with the bridge, which has been plagued more or less since the very beginning.
The span first opened in 2013, connecting Squibb Park at the top of the Brooklyn Heights Promenade to Brooklyn Bridge Park. Designed by Ted Zoli of HNTB Corporation, the bridge was always intended to have some bounce to it. But in August 2014, the troubles began: the bridge was determined to be just a little too bouncy, and was shuttered until it could be repaired, for what was supposed to be about $700,000.
What exactly had gone wrong was a matter of debate. Was it a misalignment issue? Were the problems due to the construction of Pierhouse, a development rising up on both sides of the walkway? In any case, steps were taken to correct the problem—no pun intended—but the bridge remained closed.
After the correction, the aggrieved Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation filed a $3 million lawsuit against HNTB for poor execution of a flawed design. To oversee repairs, BBPC replaced HNTB with the Arup Group. The new estimated cost of getting the bridge up and running again: $500,000.
To make things a little bit worse, Pierhouse construction workers accidentally hit the bridge with a truck in May, damaging some cables. Those repairs will cost another $790,000, though the Pierhouse team will be covering the cost.
So why, then, is the new number more than six times the original estimate? “The board’s limit is a conservative estimate for the cost of the work and BBP anticipates that the final price will be less,” Patricia Kirshner, the park’s vice president of capital planning and construction, told Brooklyn Paper. Still, she said, it was a safe estimate based on subcontractor quotes, insurance costs, and unforeseen expenses.
Subcontractors on the project will be announced by mid-October, Kirshner told the paper.