Over four years ago, a very nice yet ultimately unnecessary $4.1 million pedestrian bridge opened. It connected Brooklyn Heights' Fruit Street Sitting Area to Brooklyn Bridge Park's Pier 1, and provided pleasant views of the Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan skyline while you walked on its bouncy surface. It was deemed defective about a year later, and has been closed to the public every since... until today. It just reopened to the public following a structural retrofit and stabilization, but it's not quite the same.
In their new announcement, Brooklyn Bridge Park called the bridge a "vital... convenient and dramatic approach to the waterfront," but that dramatic approach no longer exists as it had. Since its closure, PierHouse condos and 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge have been built on either side of the bridge, blocking what were more expansive views on the way down.
The Park also explained the timeline of the original bridge's demise (note: this does not include their lawsuit against chief engineer Ted Zoli, filed in January 2016.):
- In August 2014, after we observed structural misalignment, the Bridge was closed. Ove Arup & Partners (Arup), one of the world’s top engineering firms, performed a structural peer review of the Bridge design and repair detail.
- In January 2016, BBP retained Arup as the new engineer of record to design and oversee implementation of a plan to retrofit and stabilize the Bridge.
- In July 2016, BBP announced that Arup had finalized a structural retrofit to address stability issues with the Bridge’s design while retaining its distinct aesthetic and, most importantly, allow for it to be safely reopened.
- In October 2016, BBP’s Board of Directors authorized BBP to enter into a construction contract.
- Work began shortly thereafter and repairs concluded in March 2017.
They also noted that the solution came in the form of "simple modifications to the existing structure." This meant enhancing connections, installing cable clamps, and adding steel pins reducing the vibration of the Bridge, which was originally built to be bouncy. Here are the changes that were made:
- Scaffolding was installed below the main spans, including adjustable supports so that the Bridge could be supported and re-positioned.
- Once the scaffolding was in position, holes were drilled into the steel cups connecting the timber elements and a pin added to each.
- At this point, the cables were released and the Bridge was jacked vertically and horizontally until straight.
- With the Bridge geometry corrected, the cable clamps were added to lock the bridge into the desired shape.
- The tuned mass dampers and steel collars were installed.
- The Bridge geometry was checked before the scaffolding was removed.
- With the Bridge once again carrying its own weight, the geometry was re-checked and the tuned mass dampers adjusted to optimize their performance.
- Handrail lighting fixtures were repaired after all other steps were completed.
The repairs cost $2.5 million, on top of the $4.1 million originally spent on construction. Everything was signed off on earlier this month, and the bridge is reopened as of today.
Here's video demonstrating its worth as a "shortcut" to and from the park: