Sagging cables, park construction to blame

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Sagging cables and the Pierhouse condo construction in Brooklyn Bridge Park are to blame for the temporary closure of the popular Squibb Bridge, as well as Squibb Park in Brooklyn Heights. Photo by Mary Frost.

Popular, bouncy Squibb Park Bridge, zig-zagging downward from Brooklyn Heights to Brooklyn Bridge Park, will be out of commission for up to three more weeks, park officials told the Brooklyn Eagle on Tuesday.

The bridge, along with Squibb Park, has been closed for almost a month. A sign hanging on the front gate of Squibb Park, located on Columbia Heights, blames the closure on “adjacent construction.” Excavation for the Pierhouse condo is taking place immediately adjacent to the main bridge columns.

The $5 million bridge is built out of “nearly indestructible” black locust timber with bronze and galvanized steel connections. But the cables supporting it began to sag last month and the bridge clearly listed to the south at the Squibb Park end.

“At this point, our engineers are re-tensioning the cables and monitoring alignment during these adjustments. We’re expecting the bridge to reopen in two-three weeks,” Belinda Cape, VP of Strategic Partnerships for the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation told the Eagle.

A workman at the Pierhouse construction site said he thought the bridge’s cables “wouldn’t need much work,” but the delay in repairs was caused by the construction work.

Sagging cables and the Pierhouse condo construction in Brooklyn Bridge Park are to blame for the temporary closure of the popular Squibb Bridge, as well as Squibb Park in Brooklyn Heights. Photo by Mary Frost

The cables under Squibb Bridge need tightening. Photo by Mary Frost.

The walkway opened March 21, 2013 and became an immediate hit. Crowds of tourists, encouraged by the bridge’s slight bounce, frequently jump on the bridge to make it bounce even higher.

“The Squibb Park Bridge design makes use of trail bridge technology,” a sign at the bridge’s entrance explains. “It is built with cable and wood, much like hundreds of trail bridges in our state and national parks. Since it is designed to be lightweight and flexible, the bridge will bounce as you walk over it.”

The (ADA accessible) bridge is not far from another park entrance at Old Fulton Street, about a sixth of a mile north.

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