Metal makeover: Squibb Bridge to reopen May 4

The rebuilt Squibb Bridge is scheduled to open on May 4.
Turner – Ildar Istarki

A new and improved revamp of the beleaguered multi-million-dollar Squibb Bridge will open to the public on May 4, according to Brooklyn Bridge Park bigwigs.

The reconstructed span will finally connect its namesake park on Middagh Street in Brooklyn Heights to Pier 1 in Brooklyn Bridge Park below — as first reported by Curbed — offering locals a swift path to the waterfront green space and a respite from quarantining at home during the COVID-19 crisis, according to the head of the semi-private stewards of the park.

“Right now, social distancing is so important and having more access points [to the park] can only help that,” said Eric Landau, president of Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation.

Squibb Bridge II wrapped about two months ahead of schedule, with the original opening planned for summer, and the costs came in at just north of $7 million, according to Landau.

Engineers with Arup Group designed the new pedestrian overpass to look very similar to the former troubled bridge near the water, but with a structure of pre-fabricated steel instead of black locust wood, which rotted and made the original walkway above Furman Street unsafe.

The new bridge above Furman Street.Turner/Ildar Istarki

Builders with the company Turner Construction tore down the old bridge in October but left the in-ground support columns to hold up the metal structure with the new elevated path with 9-foot wide timber ash decking.

The original wooden bridge opened in 2013 at a construction cost of roughly $4.1 million and designed by engineering firm HNTB. But the connector closed in 2014 for what were supposed to be short-term repairs at a price tag of $700,000, but stayed shuttered until 2017 with fixing costs ballooning to $3.4 million.

During that closure, Brooklyn Bridge Park sued HNTB for the shoddy build, but the parties eventually agreed to a $1.95 million settlement payment to the park and no admission of liability by either side, according to the New York Times.

All told, more than $14 million went into building the 450-foot bridge, tearing it back down, and rebuilding it again during the better part of a decade, which comes in at about $2,600 per inch!

The new structure will no longer be bouncy like the old one, and Landau said the Corporation was more focused on getting a stable construction this time around.

“What’s most important to us is to have a bridge that is fully functional for longevity and we believe that we have that now,” he said.