Popular walkway to Brooklyn Bridge Park became too bouncy

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Squibb Park Bridge, which connects Brooklyn Heights to Brooklyn Bridge Park, will remain closed for safety reasons until spring 2015, park officials said Friday. Photo by Mary Frost.

Bouncy Squibb Park Bridge, closed since Aug. 11, will remain closed until spring, according to a spokesperson for Brooklyn Bridge Park.

The popular footbridge, which zig-zags down from Brooklyn Heights to the waterfront park, was closed after the cables supporting it began to sag and the wooden walkway tilted south at the Squibb Park end.

The bridge was designed to bounce, but the motion had increased to the worrisome stage.

Park officials said that following extensive surveying of the bridge, “We have directed our engineers to conduct further study to ensure that the bridge is safe and secure. As a result, we expect the bridge to remain closed until spring 2015.”

“Since its opening in March of 2013, we have monitored the bridge and performed routine retensioning of its cables,” Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation officials said in a statement. “On August 11, our staff reported unusual movement of the bridge, which we closed immediately. Our team of civil engineers and infrastructure specialists has been performing ongoing investigation – including the installation of tilt meters and accelerometers, which will monitor movement – to diagnose and solve the problem.”

Squibb Park and its restrooms remain open, officials said.

Engineers originally thought adjacent construction was behind the problem. Excavation for the Pierhouse condo is taking place right next to the main bridge columns.

On Sept. 9, Belinda Cape, VP of Strategic Partnerships for the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation told the Brooklyn Eaglethat officials expected the bridge to be reopened before month was out. Now the date is set for next spring.

The $5 million bridge is built out of “nearly indestructible” black locust timber with bronze and galvanized steel connections.

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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