The city of Tulsa announced Monday that The Gateway Bridge, by Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, top, and The Crossing, by KKT, are the finalists for the new design of the pedestrian bridge over the Arkansas River. Provided

The Gateway Bridge, designed by Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, the New York-based architects for A Gathering Place for Tulsa park, and The Crossing by KKT of Tulsa, are the finalists in the city’s competition to find a design concept for the new pedestrian bridge over the Arkansas River, city officials announced Monday.

The Arkansas River Pedestrian Bridge Selection Committee has given KKT and MVVA 30 days to modify their concepts in response to the more than 14,000 public comments the city received after announcing the four concept finalists April 17.

“We learned a great deal from the public process and wanted to have the opportunity to incorporate the public’s wishes into the final designs,” Mayor G.T. Bynum said in a press release. “Although we originally planned to announce a final bridge design today, the point of this entire exercise is to get a bridge that will represent Tulsa for the next 100 years.

“These final 30 days will allow us to make a more responsible and informed final decision.”

The four finalists were selected from a field of 234 design submissions. The two bridge concepts not selected as finalists were Metropolis and Rebirth.

Among the issues MVVA and KKT are expected to address in their final designs include shading, lighting and seating, according to the press release. The finalists will also work with an engineering firm to make sure their designs meet the city’s $24.5 million budget.

The new Gateway Bridge will not only link the east and west banks of the Arkansas River, but “also celebrate the connection between the river and the improved Zink Lake,” according to MVVA’s design submission.

The Crossing is intended to be a modern-day update of the existing pedestrian bridge that would reflect the growth of the city over the last 100 years.

“We propose a new, modern form that creates a natural, flowing sense of movement as it is experienced,” KKT’s design submission states. “Alongside Tulsa’s long sought after goal of ‘water in the river,’ this distinctive form creates a memorable landmark as well as a sculptural addition to our city’s skyline and the revitalized riverfront.”

Bynum announced the public process for submitting bridge design concepts on March 20.

Nick Doctor, the city’s Chief of Community Development and Policy, said the Bridge Selection Committee used an online program, Qualtrics, to capture and compile the comments received from the public.

“In addition to providing the raw data to members of the Selection Committee, the city’s communications team created a dashboard summarizing the comments and their central themes,” Doctor said.

The city initially planned to rehabilitate the century-plus-old bridge and add a second deck in time for the opening of A Gathering Place for Tulsa park in early 2018. But that idea was scrapped in late 2014 after an inspection uncovered deficiencies in the bridge that make the planned reconstruction impractical and cost-prohibitive.

Paul Zachary, the city’s director of Engineering Services, has said previously that it would take 12-14 months to design the new pedestrian bridge and another 18-24 months to build it.

The city plans to build the bridge at the same time it is overhauling Zink Dam.

The selection committee includes:
Elected Officials:
Mayor G.T. Bynum and Councilors Jeannie Cue, Blake Ewing, Ben Kimbro and Phil Lakin

Historical Leaders: Holbrook Lawson (Chair, Tulsa Arts Commission), Michael Wallis (Tulsa Historical Society Hall of Fame)

Design Experts: Amanda DeCort (Tulsa Foundation for Architecture), Shawn Schaefer (OU-Tulsa Urban Design Studio)

River Corridor Stakeholders: Juan Miret (Growing Together), Stuart Solomon (Public Service Company of Oklahoma), Jeff Stava (The Gathering Place), Darton Zink (River Parks Authority)

Support Staff: Rich Brierre, Nick Doctor, Matt Meyer, Dawn Warrick, and Paul Zachary