HNTB National Bridge Chief Engineer Theodore Zoli (left) with ASCE LIB Secretary Adam DeVito (right).
On March 20, 2014, the ASCE Long Island Branch had Theodore Zoli, National Bridge Chief Engineer of HNTB, present their March technical seminar on his design of the Squibb Park Pedestrian Bridge. The bridge opened in 2013 and connects Squibb Park in Brooklyn Heights with Brooklyn Bridge Park and provides unobstructed views of Downtown Manhattan and the Brooklyn Bridge.

According to Mr. Zoli, the Squibb Park Pedestrian Bridge was designed utilizing trail bridge technology that causes the bridge to bounce as pedestrians traverse over it. Although the bridge is massive—spanning 450 feet and reaching heights 50 feet above the ground—only small signs located at the bridge's entrances advise pedestrians that the bouncing sensation is expected and it is safe.

More interestingly, the new pedestrian bridge was built with lightweight materials including black locust timber and flexible cable. These materials form an inverted suspension system. The bridge deck is supported by the compressive strength of black locust timber, and the tensile strength of catenary steel cables supports the entire span. The black locust wood not only adds to the rustic aesthetic of the park, but it also considered a sustainable resource. Additionally, it is naturally rot resistant and has a very high strength to weight ratio.

The many trail bridges located in state and national parks inspired the Squibb Park Pedestrian Bridge design. While there is hardly a similarly designed bridge in Brooklyn Heights, the new Squibb Park Pedestrian bridge undoubtedly provides fun and convenient access to Brooklyn Bridge Park and is a welcome addition to the community.