Brooklyn Bridge Park bigwigs presented renderings of their multi-million-dollar plan to tear down and rebuild the beleaguered Squibb Bridge at a community meeting Monday.
The new bridge — which zig-zags from its namesake park in Brooklyn Heights down to the waterfront park below — will look almost identical to the current structure, but the semi-private Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation which oversees the green space will replace the rotting wood elements with prefabricated steel, giving it a longer shelf life than its short-lived and troubled existence, according to the organization’s president.
“We’ve had multiple issues with this bridge and we felt that going to a prefabricated steel would allow us to have certainty about the life of the bridge,” Eric Landau told Community Board 2’s Parks and Recreation Committee.
Manhattan-based firm Turner Construction will start taking down the current structure some time around October and aim to finish the project by the summer of 2020 in keeping with the plans Landau announced in December, Landau said.
The project’s engineers, the Arup Group, completed the bridge’s first repair after it closed in 2014.
The concrete support structures coming out of the ground will remain intact for the new build, but wood coming out of them will also be replaced with steel.
The revamp comes at a $6.5 million price tag for the 450-foot pathway — or roughly $1,200 per inch — which is $2.5 million more expensive than retrofitting the current structure.
But maintaining the existing bridge would cost more in the long run than the additional upfront costs, according to Landau.
“After a certain number of years, the $2.5 million that we saved in retrofitting versus replacing, we would spend that and more in ongoing annual maintenance of the bridge,” he said.
The cash to rebuild the project will come from funds generated by development projects and concession sales in the green space, according to Landau.
The ever-evolving reconstruction project of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, which stretches 1.5 miles between Atlantic Avenue and Sands Street, and cuts beneath the stretch of Columbia Heights where locals currently enter Middagh Street’s Squibb Park, will not affect the bridge’s construction but might have an impact on the Heights green space depending on which plan the city chooses for the crumbling roadway, Landau said.
“I think it’s fair to say that all of the plans at some level have an impact to the park — not necessarily to this bridge but to the park — and it’s hard for us to fully judge what those impacts are because some of those plans haven’t been fully vetted or fully engineered yet,” he said.
The future construction of a long-awaited pool in that park will also not interfere with the bridge project but the walkway will have to be accessible without having to go through the bath, as per the city’s regulations on entrances and exits to swimming spots, Landau said.
State Sen. Brian Kavanagh (D-Brooklyn Heights) previously said that the pool would be open by 2020, the same year the bridge is slated to be operational.
Landau stopped short of guaranteeing that the two won’t overlap because his corporation has yet to issue a final design and collect all the funds for the bath.
“I can’t comment on whether, while the pool is in construction, when that happens, what the impact will be, because I can’t speculate like that,” he told the civic committee. “We don’t yet know the timeline on that pool construction because there are a lot of factors, including funds to be raised for pool construction.”
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