City Of Tulsa Mulls Ideas For New Arkansas River Pedestrian Bridge

Friday, April 7th 2017, 2:33 pm
By: News On 6

If you haven't submitted your idea for a new pedestrian bridge over the Arkansas River, you missed your chance.

Voters approved spending more than $140,000,000 on Arkansas River corridor improvement when they passed Vision Tulsa last year. Those plans include the creation of a lake in the Arkansas River, replacing Zink Dam, fixing levees and building a brand new pedestrian bridge.

The funding allocated to the new pedestrian bridge is $24.5 million.

The city asked for ideas from the public for what the replacement bridge should look like. The deadline was Friday, April 7, 2017 at midnight.

A committee is now considering the ideas submitted and will share them with the public during the week of April 17. After getting public input, the committee will then pick the best design.

Read the city's FAQ about the process here

No one is sure when the current bridge was built. Some accounts place its construction in 1905, the city says 1917 but some say it wasn't built until the 1930s.

What is known is that it was built to carry trains by the Midland Valley Railroad to service the booming Glen Pool oilfield. It was abandoned by the railroad in 1974, and the brand new Tulsa River Parks Authority then converted it to a pedestrian bridge over the next three years.

The Tulsa Tribune joined the fundraising process, selling inches of the bridge for $5.50 a piece. When it first opened as a pedestrian bridge, only the eastern half was open to pedestrians. It was finally completed in 1978.

The original plans for the conversion called for a tram to run on top of the bridge, but they never materialized.