Say hello to the new Squibb Bridge: After announcing last year that it would close and replace the beleaguered pedestrian pathway, the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation is moving forward with a new span that will connect the park to Brooklyn Heights.
Fresh renderings show what that new walkway, to be designed and constructed by Arup, might look like—and it will basically replicate the look and feel of the old Squibb Bridge, albeit from structurally sound metal rather than timber. The original span was made from black locust, typically a hardy wood, and was beset with issues almost as soon as it debuted nearly six years ago.
As envisioned by Arup, the new 450-foot pathway will be able to utilize the existing support structures for the old bridge, which hovers over Furman Street. But the new span will be prefabricated offsite and plopped into place. While the trusses that support the bridge will be made of metal, the pathway itself will still be composed from wood, though BBPC has yet to determine the specific material.
The original bridge was designed by Ted Zoli of HNTB, and opened to the public in 2013; by 2014, it had closed for what was supposed to be a short period for repairs. It ended up staying closed until April 2017 and costing $3 million to fix. In that nearly three-year period, the BBPC filed a $3 million lawsuit against HNTB for poor execution of a flawed design. (The case was settled “with no admission of liability on either side,” according to Landau.)
It then closed again last August, and has remained shuttered since. The bridge has now been closed for a longer period of time than it was ever open.
Eric Landau, the president of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation, told Curbed last year that rebuilding the bridge from scratch, rather than replacing the unsafe parts piecemeal, was the best way to ensure the structure would be safe—and, crucially, able to remain open—going forward.
“We feel really, really strongly that having a functional bridge that doesn’t call into question whether or not it’s going to be open is paramount,” Landau said at the time.
The new bridge will cost $6.5 million (as opposed to $4 million to retrofit the old one), which is in addition to the original $4 million to build the original bridge, and $3.4 million to fix it. The old span is expected to come down sometime this fall, and the new bridge will be put in place and open to the public by next summer.
Landau will present the plans for the new bridge at Brooklyn Community Board 2’s Parks & Recreation committee meeting tonight at 6 p.m., at Brooklyn Hospital at 121 DeKalb Avenue.