Park officials: Squibb Park Bridge closed due to dangerous bounciness

Brooklyn Bridge Park’s new bridge is a shortcut with big views
Photo by Elizabeth Graham

It’s a troubled bridge.

The bouncy, $5 million footbridge that connects Brooklyn Heights to Brooklyn Bridge Park is closed till the spring because it has become dangerously springy, according to park officials. The pricey Squibb Park Bridge opened to great fanfare last year, running from Columbia Heights to Pier 1. Its novel design is supposed to mimic a hiking trail bridge, allowing for a slight bounce as pedestrians walk over it. But back on Aug. 11, park staffers decided that the give was becoming too much to safely take and abruptly barred the entrances to the span.

“Our staff reported unusual movement of the bridge, which we closed immediately,” said a spokeswoman for the park.

Park officials said the walkway will be out of commission through the winter so that engineers can double-check to ensure it is structurally sound.

“Following extensive surveying of Squibb Park Bridge, we have directed our engineers to conduct further study to ensure that the bridge is safe and secure,” the spokeswoman said. “As a result, we expect the bridge to remain closed until spring 2015.”

The greensward stewards don’t know what destabilized the bridge and have installed sensors to monitor its movements and hopefully make a diagnosis. They don’t think the problem has to do with the large construction sites on either side of the bridge’s base, where a residential building and a hotel are set to rise, the spokeswoman said.

The span zigzags down the five-story drop that separates the Heights from the park, traveling the length of one-and-a-half football fields. MacArthur Foundation “genius” Ted Zoli designed the bridge using black-locust wood and galvanized-steel cables. Back in 2012 he described the amount of give it was supposed to have this way:

“It’s going to bounce a little the way a trail bridge would if you ever went hiking in the Catskills,” he said.

Reach reporter Matthew Perlman at (718) 260–8310. E-mail him at mperl‌man@c‌ngloc‌al.com. Follow him on Twitter @matthewjperlman.