Scared stiff! Park: Bouncy Squibb Bridge back next spring with much less bounce

Work site: The Squibb Park Bridge runs through the still-under-construction Pierhouse development in Brooklyn Bridge Park.
Photo by Louise Wateridge

This’ll take some spring out of your step.

Brooklyn Bridge Park honchos claim they will finally reopen the long-shuttered Squibb Park Bridge — the famously bouncy walkway that connected the green-space to the Brooklyn Heights Promenade until it became dangerously unstable two years ago — next spring, but with far less bounce this time.

And locals are happy to finally take a walk on the mild side — one area mom said traversing the old wobbly walkway used to leave her tot trembling.

“That will be a good thing,” said Kathryn Ali, who has lived in Brooklyn Heights for three years. “I have a 3-year-old son who used to be terrified to use it.”

News of the bridge’s return date — first reported by the New York Times — comes seven months after park leaders announced that they were firing the bridge’s creator, engineering firm HNTB, and filing a $3-million suit against it for creating an “inherently flawed” design that became so deformed after it opened in March 2013, they had to close the bridge in August 2014

The zig-zagging pathway — designed by celebrated bridge brainiac Ted Zoli — then stayed off-limits for 17 months while the semi-private organization that runs the park refused to tell citizens what was wrong with it, and missed multiple reopening deadlines, before it pointed the finger at HNTB in January for creating a crummy design then failing to fix it.

The park then recruited engineering outfit Arup Group to devise a way tame the Squibb, which it says will involve using clamps and steel pins to subdue the shaky span.

The firm told the Times it will be a “relatively simple” repair, though it will nevertheless be at least eight months before it is back in action — or inaction, as the case may be.

That is after construction will wrap up on the controversial Pierhouse condominium complex — which is rising on either side of the Squibb — though park bigwigs have long denied speculation that there is any connection between the bridge’s closure and its proximity to the private development.

The park will still have to select a construction manager — which will then go before its board of directors for approval — and then put out a request for proposals from interested construction firms, according to a spokeswoman.

But some park-goers say officials should have stepped in to fix the bridge years ago, instead of keeping residents without answers or an easy route from the Promenade to Pier 1.

“I just wish they could have gotten it repaired sooner,” said a recent visitor to the park, who identified herself as a Brooklyn Heights resident named Lolly, but refused to give her last name. “There’s so many people here now who would like to use it.”

Reach reporter Lauren Gill at lgill@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow her on Twitter @laurenk_gill

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