When it opened in 2013, the Squibb Park Bridge that zigzagged between Brooklyn Heights and Brooklyn Bridge Park instantly became one of the most thrilling pieces of the waterfront retreat. The HNTB-designed pedestrian bridge was designed to have some bounce in it, so getting to the park was more than a typical pedestrian experience, it was a fun little adventure. At least for the humans voyaging across it—dogs hated it. The petrified, why-are-you-doing-this-to-me looks on their faces as the wood structure ebbed and flowed were haunting.
But while the Squibb Park bridge may have seemed a little precarious, everything was surely fine. The movement was just part of the fun. The Brooklyn Bridge Park said so right on its website: “Walk across the award-winning Squibb Park Bridge and you may notice a little spring in your step. That’s because it was designed to be lightweight and flexible like the trail bridges in our state and national parks.” See, totally stable. Well, maybe not.
By last summer, the bridge wasn’t just springing, it was swaying. So in August, the bridge was closed. That was supposed to be temporary, but the bridge is still off limits today. Back in February, the Brooklyn Paper reported that the structure needed $700,000 in repairs—nearly a quarter of the bridge’s initial cost. Those repairs were supposed to wrap up in the Spring.
So now Spring has arrived—almost peak Brooklyn Bridge Park season—and the bouncy bridge is still inaccessible. “At this point, because of the movement we notice, it would be overly optimistic to say we could solve this in two to three weeks,” Regina Myer, president of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation told the New York Times.
Engineers are apparently studying the structure’s movements. The bridge is still expected to open later this spring, but no exact date has been given. And there has not been a full accounting of exactly what caused the problems. A spokesperson has said the issue could come down to a “misalignment.”
Park officials told the Times that the solution will include installing cross braces, which a park spokesperson said would make the bridge “a little less bouncy than it was before.” One would hope.