Big Changes Planned For Arkansas River In Tulsa

A low-water dam, pedestrian bridge and recreational flume for kayakers are coming to the Arkansas River in Tulsa, the City says.

Friday, December 6th 2019, 6:58 pm

Construction is set to begin July 2020 for the new Arkansas River pedestrian bridge. Lead Engineer for Tulsa's Storm Water Development Brooke Caviness said plans for the pedestrian bridge and low water dam are about 90 percent complete.

"So we're raising the lake by three feet; we're changing out all the gates on the dam," said Caviness. She said this spring's record flooding prompted a design change to the dam to help improve flow when the water rises.

"So we'll be able to put this new dam in and this new flume in and have no rise condition so the water level doesn't come up," said Caviness.

Renderings released by the city show the biggest change over on the east side of the river. The city plans on adding a recreational flume where kayakers can brave the rapids.

"It's 1,000 feet long so there's five signature features for kayakers in here - so there will be a lot of room to play," said Caviness.

Caviness said the first step in the construction will be removing the current pedestrian bridge. An engineering study said it's not safe, so a new bridge is part of the city's plan.

"We have this beautiful water feature in Tulsa that's not utilized, so this way we're actually getting to use it," said Caviness.

Caviness said $25 million to $35 million set aside from the Improve Our Tulsa sales tax and Vision Tulsa will pay for the changes that are expected to be finished by July 2022.

The plans for the Jenks and Sand Springs dams are part of the next phase in the low level dams.


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