Squibb Park Bridge
Squibb Park Bridge in 2013
|Locale||Brooklyn Bridge Park, Brooklyn, New York|
|Material||Black locust wood, galvanized cable|
|Total length||400 feet (120 m)|
|Height||50 feet (15 m)|
Squibb Park Bridge was a footbridge connecting Brooklyn Bridge Park and Brooklyn Heights in Brooklyn, New York City. It opened in March 2013 and was demolished in late 2019. Designed by Theodore Zoli, it became known as a boondoggle due to various problems with its construction, including too much bounce and deterioration of its wooden timbers. The bridge initially cost $4.1 million to construct, but the cost of repairs ultimately ended up making the total cost $7.5 million. Its replacement is expected to cost another $6.5 to $7 million.
HNTB Corporation, the engineering firm of Theodore Zoli, was contracted to build the bridge by the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation. The bridge was announced in April 2012 and was constructed from December 2012 to March 2013. Its purpose was to let people travel from Brooklyn Bridge Park's Pier 1 to the Brooklyn Heights Promenade and Squibb Park. Built from black locust timber supported by galvanized steel cables and mounted on concrete pillars, it was meant to have some degree of bounce when people walked across, based on catwalks found in state parks. The wooden design was meant to be a "stepping stone" for sustainable vehicular bridges in rural areas. However, the bounce became more pronounced over time, and the bridge also began moving from side to side in an unintended way, worrying pedestrians. The bridge was closed on August 11, 2014 for repairs due to a "misalignment", though at the time park officials expressed confidence in the bridge's design. The bridge remained closed for the next two years.
More than two years after this closing, park officials determined that the bridge's design was "inherently flawed" and filed suit against the bridge's designers. The park spent $3.4 million on repairs to the bridge, including dampeners to reduce the bounciness. The lawsuit was settled for $1.95 million with no admission of wrongdoing. The bridge reopened in April 2017, but was closed again in mid-2018 after the wood had started deteriorating significantly, despite the wood's properties as "extremely rot-resistant". Retrofitting the bridge would have cost almost the same as rebuilding it, in addition to maintenance costs.
The original bridge was torn down in October 2019. A steel replacement, built with a similar design, is planned to cost $6.5 to $7 million. The steel replica is expected to be completed by December 2020.