A new pedestrian bridge across the Arkansas River will be named Williams Crossing, memorializing a lead donation to the project by the Tulsa based pipeline company. The $35 million dollar bridge is being funded primarily by taxpayer dollars, but the last $7 million dollars in philanthropic support comes from Williams, the George Kaiser Family Foundation, HF Sinclair, and ONEOK.
“I cannot wait for it to be completed” said Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum, “and for Tulsans to see what it's going to look like. It's a lot different than the old one, for one thing it's built for people.” The bridge it replaces was a crumbling, century-old railroad bridge converted into pedestrian use.
The bridge will connect Gathering Place with the West bank of the river, where a new landscaped entry is planned with a circular ramp. On the East side, the bridge will connect to another bridge over Riverside Drive into Gathering Place. Five acres of land on the East landing is not finished and will add river access to the park for the first time.
The Vision Tulsa tax program paid for the base bridge, but the added philanthropic dollars allowed for better lighting, benches and a rock surface instead of plain concrete. “It allowed us to make the bridge wider, from 15 up to 18 feet to give bikes and pedestrians more room on the bridge itself” said Jeff Stava, with the George Kaiser Family Foundation.
The bridge arcs to the north, spanning Zink Lake. It will be 1440' long, with 11 of the arches made of steel plates that the builder says is the only one like it in the country. It’s halfway complete and expected to open next summer.