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Condo developer further damages Squibb Bridge, total repairs could cost more than $3M

Still closed: The long shuttered Squibb Park Bridge should finally reopen in spring 2017 — but it could cost more than $3 million to fix.
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They’ve got a bridge repair to sell you.

Brooklyn Bridge Park may have to shell out as much as $3.12 million to fix its long-shuttered Squibb Park Bridge — just $1 million less than it cost to build in the first place — and now a developer erecting condos in the park has done even more damage to the embattled span, park officials say.

Members of the privatively-run park’s board on Wednesday authorized officials to blow the seven-figure amount on mending the wobbly walkway — which connected the Brooklyn Heights Promenade to the waterfront meadow until it became dangerously unstable in August 2014 and they had to fence it off.

And to add injury to insult, developer Toll Brothers — which is building the luxury Pierhouse condominium complex on either side of the springy pathway — hit the bridge with a truck in May and damaged some of its cables, although it is coughing up an additional $790,000 to cover those costs, according to Patricia Kirshner, the park’s vice president of capital planning and construction.

The total price tag probably won’t actually reach $3.12 million, Kirshner claimed, but that is a safe estimate based on subcontrac­tors’ quotes and insurance with some extra cash for any unforeseen costs.

“The board’s limit is a conservative estimate for the cost of the work and BBP anticipates that the final price will be less,” she said.

The park in January fired the $4.1-million zigzagging footpath’s original creator — so-called “genius” engineer Ted Zoli and his company HNTB — for devising an “inherently flawed” design that ultimately failed, then failing to fix it for more than 17 months, and hired rival firm Arup to come up with a way to fix the mess.

The park then hit HNTB with a $3-million lawsuit, which officials say will cover the repair costs — if they win.

Park honchos claimed in February 2015 that the repairs would only cost $700,000, but have now paid Arup $516,000 just to come up with a repair plan — and that is in addition to the millions they just allocated.

Sixteen board members voted to approve the $3.12 million figure at Wednesday’s meeting, with one abstaining — Hank Gutman, who owns a condo in the Pierhouse development and is supposed to recuse himself from all votes it might have a stake in.

And one member was absent from the vote — Councilman Steve Levin (D–Boerum Hill), who has previously scolded park bigwigs for their years-long silence about what was wrong with the bridge and how they expected to pay for the fixes. He was at a Council hearing about a controversial Downtown development.

The park is currently selecting subcontractors for the bridge repairs — which include installing on the bridge and readjusting its cables to stabilize the span — and will name those crews by mid-October, Kirshner said.

The bridge is slated to reopen in spring 2017 — at which point it will have been out of operation for nearly three years.

Reach reporter Lauren Gill at lgill@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow her on Twitter @laurenk_gill
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Joe from Breezy Point says:
The developer will drop a few bucks in DiBlasio campaign and nothing will happen.

DiBlasio can be bought with a ham sanwhich and a bottle of Schlitz.
Oct. 7, 2016, 2:40 am
Joseph. Sobrido from Brooklyn Heights says:
The walkway is permanently damaged because the condos block the view that used to be there before the construction began.
Oct. 7, 2016, 2:57 am
Born in Bklyn Hgts from Brooklyn Heights says:
We all know the bridge was built for the future owners of the new apartments. Why else would it be where it is...so close to Old Fulton Street where access to the park is easy. It would have made more sense for the bridge to have been placed at Montague or Pierpont Streets.

The question now is: how much would it cost to demolish it rather than 'fix' it.
Oct. 7, 2016, 4:56 am
Michael from Bay Ridge says:
It's an expensive vanity project that was poorly executed. This bridge is like a black hole for money, and it's fairly boring and not useful for that many people. The people involved seem to have a sort of monomania about this bridge. If it cost over 4 million to build, and will cost 3 million to repair, that's already 7-8 million dollars in construction costs. That's $2 - $3 for every man, woman and child who lives in Brooklyn. How many people have used this bridge or will? The money could have been spent so much better. It's pointless, and I question the wisdom of throwing more millions of dollars into it.
Oct. 7, 2016, 7:04 am
Rob from Williamsburg says:
The Squibb Park Bridge by unicycle:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=afIkZyD3En8
Oct. 7, 2016, 7:46 am
Bobby from Brooklyn Heights says:
Good chance the bridge remains closed (it could have been fixed by now) because North Heights people do not want it. The bridge drew swarms of people on a direct route from the 2-3 trains at Clark Street — people North Heights residents don't want in their neighborhood. It is NOT a plus for any Heights condo.
Oct. 7, 2016, 1:03 pm
Sean F from Bensonhurst says:
They paid $516,000 to an architect just to come up with a plan? Shouldn't coming up with a plan be part of the architect's cost of business? If they want the job (and the money that goes with doing the job), they shouldn't be paid for a proposal. Wasted money.
Oct. 7, 2016, 1:37 pm
Andrew Porter from Brooklyn Heights says:
Bobby took the words out of my mouth. The bridge drew thousands of people who made this area, formerly quiet, a thoroughfare to the bridge. It also brought vandalism to the area—smashed flower pots, overturned trash cans, etc.—that had never happened before.

The people on Joralemon Street can relate to this all too well.
Oct. 7, 2016, 2:42 pm
Marsha Rimler from BrooklynHeights says:
Here is spending ...down the drain. The day I first heard of this over the top expense I called Councilman Levin's office. I asked why build this vanity bridge when our library block away needed air conditioning, He did not have a reasonable answer. Now we have a bridge to nowhere and a library building standing emply subject to investigations and a lawsuit.. THERE IS ONLY ONE PERSON RESPONSIBLE FOR THIS. His name is STEPHEN LEVIN and he must be held accountable
Oct. 9, 2016, 3:02 am
ujh from Downtown Brooklyn says:
Most of the above opinions point to ignorance. Besides what Bobby and Andrew Porter wrote, thousands of visitors from the Heights, east of the Heights, and elsewhere in Brooklyn, NYC and the region, and all those arriving by the A/C subway line (in addition to the 2/3 line) used this bridge to reach a sort of midpoint in the long park. These thousands have had to make long detours by taking Cadman Plaza West/Old Fulton Street to enter the park at Pier 1 or walk to Joralemon Street or Atlantic Avenue to enter the park at Pier 6, followed by more walking to get to the center of the park.

Most likely, the engineers didn't expect groups of sometimes 50 and more people to jump up and down in unison on the longest bridge span above Furman Street, causing nausea-inducing swaying and destroying the cable system.
Oct. 10, 2016, 9:10 pm
Julie from Brooklyn Heights says:
Glad to hear that the bridge will be returning soon. I used to use the bridge alot and still miss it, as do many of my neighbors. It made a huge difference in providing neighborhood access to the northern half of the park for kids, the elderly and the stroller crowd. Joralemon Street is not that far from Montague, and I seem to recall that the access was most feasible from Squibb Park, and that Montague would not have worked out.
Oct. 15, 2016, 2:47 am

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