Tulsa City Council Discusses Demolition, Plans For Pedestrian Bridge Over Arkansas River

Wednesday, January 27th 2021, 9:43 pm

TULSA, Okla. -

Some people are fighting to try to keep the pedestrian bridge over the Arkansas River. The Tulsa City Council discussed the demolition Wednesday, along with the plans for a new bridge.

Councilors discussed ideas of how they could still save some or all of the old bridge, but numerous complications have those plans all but dead in the water.

People like Jonathan Pinkey, who want the current pedestrian bridge to be saved haven't given up.

"I think maybe they were trying to tie it all up neatly but it's not gonna happen that way," Pinkey said.

At the council meeting, engineers explained their solutions for things like dangerously cracked concrete, worn-out welds and rusted rivets. They say although it could be done, in the long term a newer, wider bridge will be safer and cheaper.

District 8 Councilman Phil Lakin said the discussion at today's meeting was a reminder of just how costly fixing the dilapidated bridge really is, and how much better a planned new bridge could be.

"I'm very excited about the gateway bridge and all that it will provide," Lakin said.

"You know, it's a new frontier, a new horizon if you will. But we hate saying goodbye to the past. Because that bridge served us so well and we have so many good memories," Lakin said.

The bridge was built in the early 1900's for a railroad, and later served a gathering spot.

It's something the new bridge could be too, but Pinkey's point is that newer isn't always better and costly doesn't mean impossible.

"If you look at the actual engineering report, they have solutions for the problems. They have clever solutions which eliminate a lot of the complications," Pinkey said.

"Some people are trying to close the door on this, but a lot of people say the door should be left open," Pinkey said.

Despite petitions to keep it, the bridge is still scheduled for demolition once the Army Corps of Engineers approves it. That means the bridge could be gone before summer.