Brooklyn Bridge Park leaders on Monday indefinitely shuttered the zig-zagging Squibb Bridge leading to the waterfront lawn, blaming a single, faulty piece of wood for the notoriously bouncy span’s latest closure.
The footbridge between Brooklyn’s front yard and its namesake Squibb Park on Middagh Street will remain off limits to locals until experts can examine the issue, and propose and implement a solution, according to the park’s chief steward.
“Out of an abundance of caution, we have temporarily closed the bridge while our engineers conduct further analysis,” read a statement released Monday evening by Eric Landau, president of the semi-private Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation, which oversees the lawn. “This analysis will inform the appropriate repair and associated timeline.”
Workers discovered the “piece of wood in poor condition” during a routine inspection, forcing the bridge’s closure roughly 15 months after it reopened last year following a three-year, more than $3-million project to repair previous structural faults plaguing the infrastructure. That prolonged fix began roughly 17 months after officials debuted the $4-million, taxpayer-funded walkway in March 2013.
But a green-space spokeswoman said the wood responsible for the crossing’s latest closure is not related to those issues that previously led it to shutter — which Brooklyn Bridge Park leaders sued the span’s original creator over in 2016, alleging engineering firm HNTB’s “inherently flawed” design that the company subsequently failed to fix rendered the bridge “unstable” and “deformed” within two years of its debut.
Meadow bigwigs blocked Squibb Bridge’s entrances with barricades sometime Monday morning, and a Park Enforcement Patrol officer stationed inside Squibb Park on Tuesday told this newspaper that he was there to make sure nobody tried to sneak by.
And if park caretakers manage to reopen the bridge in the coming months, it may yet close again when workers begin construction on a new public pool inside Squibb Park after Brooklyn Bridge Park’s beloved Pop-Up Pool is drained for good at the end of the summer.
Fortunately, Landau, along with locals and pols, is advocating for the construction of another overpass to the waterfront following residents’ demands for a new bridge between the Brooklyn Heights Promenade at Montague Street and the East River–fronting green space.
Transportation Department experts are looking into the feasibility of an alternate footpath, according to agency spokesman Scott Gastel, who noted maintenance of the Squibb Bridge is the sole responsibility of Brooklyn Bridge Park.