Demolition Of Riverside Pedestrian Bridge First Of Many Upcoming Detours

Wednesday, February 25th 2015, 6:41 pm
By: Tess Maune

A piece of Tulsa history is set for demolition. The city said the pedestrian bridge over Riverside Drive must come down this weekend.

That means shutting down Riverside between 21st and 31st; this project marks the beginning of more than two years' worth of detours.

The 78-year-old bridge is crumbling and a danger to drivers. The city's engineer said a few weeks ago a piece of concrete broke off and busted a driver's windshield.

Tulsa resident Rachel Boyce said the bridge is a landmark along Riverside Drive.

“I think this is a very important part scenically and historically to Tulsa,” she said.

The stamp on the side of the pedestrian bridge shows it was built in 1937.

When Boyce heard the bridge would be coming down this weekend, she knew she needed to get her camera and take some pictures.

The bridge, after all, may be why she's here today.

“It actually goes way back in my family. My parents, 35 years ago, had their first kiss right on the bridge,” she said.

While her parents' love has grown stronger over the years, the same can't be said for the bridge where they fell in love.

Tulsa City Engineer, Paul Zachary said the nearly 80-year-old bridge has to come down ASAP.

2/25/2015 Related Story: Pedestrian Bridge Demolition To Close Tulsa's Riverside Drive

“The concrete was just sloughing off and it was just gonna continue and this is not worth it,” he said.

In its current condition, it's too much of a risk to leave as is, and making repairs would be a waste of money because the bridge was slated to be demolished in six to eight months anyway, as The Gathering Place begins to take shape.

“We're past the planning and moving into execution,” said Gathering Place Executive Director, Jeff Stava.

Stava he said in the weeks to come true construction will begin, bringing a temporary end to the way some drivers get around on Riverside.

Between now and July we can expect on and off lane closures.

On March 9th, the trails between 35th Street and 27th Street will shut down. A week after that 31st Street between Riverside and Boston will close, and then the week of July 13th, Riverside Drive between 24th and 35th will shut down until 2017, when the Gathering Place is expected to be finished.

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The bridge will be torn down starting at 6:00 Saturday morning, closing Riverside between 21st and 31st until sometime Sunday.

It's important to mention the bridge over the Arkansas River will not be touched.

The Gathering Place said it will reconstruct this part of the bridge and try to honor the old style.