Brooklyn Bridge Park’s innovative Squibb Park Bridge has been plagued with problems since its 2013 debut—namely, it was too bouncy, and it closed a little more than a year after opening. But now, two years (and one lawsuit) after the bridge was closed off to pedestrians, a fix for the pathway’s structural issues may soon be in place.
The New York Times got a peek at the latest plans for bridge repairs, devised by engineering firm Arup. Though park officials wouldn’t specify a timetable or a cost for the repairs (which, considering all the setbacks it’s experienced up to this point, probably makes sense), Regina Myer, the head of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation, estimated that they could be done as early as next spring. "This has been enormously frustrating for us," she told the paper.
Originally, the span was designed by engineer Ted Zoli to replicate trail bridges that are often found in parks around the rest of the world, with a similar design (it’s made from galvanized wood and held up with suspension cables) and a springy feel when traversed. But things devolved quickly after the bridge debuted in 2013, as it became less structurally sound, and it closed in mid-20214.
The initial problem stemmed not from the bridge’s design, but from the execution: According to the Times report:
In a memorandum to the park corporation, [Zoli] 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.
None of the temporary fixes that the park put in place worked, and in 2015, they sued HNTB Corporation (the firm Zoli works for) and contracted Arup to fix the ‘defective’ bridge.
David Farnsworth, a principal at Arup, says that there’s a "relatively simplex fix" for the bridge, which involves stabilizing the connection between the bridge’s trusses and its suspension cables. The downside: The bridge will be less bouncy than in its original iteration, though that may not be an issue for the denizens who found it too vertigo-inducing. "You’ll still feel it, but it will be a lot more subtle than it used to be," Farnsworth told the Times. Duly noted!