Mayor G.T. Bynum announced a public process Monday for selecting a design for a new pedestrian bridge to be built over the Arkansas River at approximately 29th Street and Riverside Drive.
“The idea here is to have the citizens of Tulsa send us as many designs as we can so we can start to get a feel for the options that are out there,” Bynun said during a press conference at the Blue Rose Cafe.
The city initially planned to rehabilitate the 113-year-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.
Beginning Monday, through midnight April 7, Tulsans can submit their ideas at www.cityoftulsa.org/vision. The city will accept renderings, photos or drawings along with a brief explanation of why the design was selected and its connection to Tulsa’s history and future.
Bynum said design ideas must meet three criteria: relate to A Gathering Place for Tulsa 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.
“Unless the person making the submission has some other funding source that they’ve identified that we could utilize,” Bynum said.
After the submission process ends April 7, a citizen-led selection committee will meet April 10-14 to narrow the submissions to three to six finalists. Those submissions will then be presented to the public from April 17-28 to get their input and feedback.
The selection committee will take those comments into consideration before announcing its choice April 28.
Paul Zachary, the city’s director of Engineering Services, said 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 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 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.