City of Tulsa narrows Arkansas River pedestrian bridge design options to 4

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The committee charged with reviewing design proposals for the new pedestrian bridge over the Arkansas River has settled on four finalists, the city of Tulsa announced Monday.

The finalists are considered “potential concepts,” meaning the final design may only closely resemble the submitted rendering.

“This process has been such a strong reminder of the passion and creative talent we have in our community,” Mayor G.T. Bynum said in a media release. “The Selection Committee had a really challenging job in narrowing the field to these four finalists. There were so many outstanding ideas, but the Committee had to consider not just appearance and use, but also the construction budget we have to work with. I’m thankful for everyone who submitted a design to us, and who took the time to dream about what our city can become.”

The city last month announced a public process by which people could submit design ideas online. The city received 234 submissions before the April 7 deadline.

The selection committee has met several times since to determine which designs were best based on whether they would complement A Gathering Place for Tulsa park and the natural surroundings of the area; accommodate pedestrians and cyclists; and be no more expensive than the $24.5 million the city has budgeted for the bridge.

The city will take public comments on the four renderings through April 28 at www.cityoftulsa.org/vision. The selection committee will review the comments before announcing the winning design May 1st.

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 will take 12-14 months to design the 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 pedestrian bridge will not be completed in time for the opening of A Gathering Place, which is expected to open in the spring of 2018.

The selection committee included:

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 Zachary

The city has $27.5 million budgeted for the pedestrian bridge project, $3 million of which has been set aside for contingency. The three major funding sources are the Improve Our Tulsa capital improvements program ($7.7 million); a federal TIGER grant ($4.7 million); and Vision Tulsa sales tax ($15 million).

The city has spent approximately $675,000 on the project so far, including $240,000 for construction plans for the pedestrian bridge that will cross Riverside Drive.

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Kevin Canfield

Senior Staff Writer

Kevin has been working the Tulsa city hall and county beat for nearly a decade. He hails from a newspaper family and Okies enjoy the Connecticut native's accent. In newspapers, Kevin's done everything from copy editing to covering high school football. If you see him around town, make sure and ask him about the time he went to the O.J. Simpson trial or when he was an extra in a zombie movie. Contact him at 918-645-5452 or kevin@readfrontier.com
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