Crews Getting Back To Work On Zink Dam After Monthlong Delay

May 3, 2021

The old, inoperable Zink Dam is being replaced.
Credit City of Tulsa

Work is resuming on Zink Dam after being on hold more than a month.

Project Manager Brooke Caviness told the City of Tulsa’s Sales Tax Overview Committee last week the temporary, earthen dam built to keep water out of the area while workers pour concrete was breached in late March because of higher-than-expected water flow in the Arkansas River.

"It was designed to hold back at least 40,000 cubic feet per second. On March 24, we had 47,000 cfs come through, and that’s when it overtopped," Caviness said.

Caviness says said rebuilt and armored the structure, known as a coffer dam, last week. They’re currently pouring concrete pads in the river for Zink Dam’s gates of various heights, and that work is on schedule despite the delay.

Construction of a new pedestrian bridge across the Arkansas River was supposed to start from the same side of the river soon so workers could use the same temporary dam and access, but a necessary federal permit has not been issued yet.

"If the 404 doesn’t come through until late summer, early fall, then I think we’re going to have to take a good look at go ahead and flipping the coffer over and working on the east bank. It’s perhaps changing the bridge construction," Caviness said.

Work on Zink Dam is supposed to stop for nine months while the pedestrian bridge work is being done.