Project Manager: Tulsa's New Arkansas River Pedestrian Bridge Now Closer to Budget

May 28, 2020

A rendering of the Gateway Bridge shows wood light poles and leaning rails, stainless steel pickets, and concrete and wood benches.
Credit City of Tulsa

The man managing replacement of Tulsa’s Arkansas River pedestrian bridge told a board that oversees sales tax–funded projects its estimated cost has fallen closer in line with its $27 million budget. 

Original estimates for the Gateway Bridge, which will connect the west bank River Parks trails with the Gathering Place along Zink Dam, put the cost as high as $35 million. 

"Right now, we’re starting to see some relaxing in pricing, just with the way the industry and the markets are reacting. And so, right now, when you take the contingency out, we are actually a little bit below budget. So, we’re in a pretty good spot," said Gathering Place LLC Director and Trustee Jeff Stava.

The contingency is $3 million to $4 million. The Gathering Place is handling the brige project on behalf of the City of Tulsa.

Gateway Bridge was designed by Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, the same firm that designed the Gathering Place.

Stava said the steel arch bridge will include enhanced LED lighting. There will be some features missing, however, like a shade structure running the length of it.

"The issue with the budget that we had was the shade structure was about a $6 million or $7 million — it was either between $5 million and $7 million add, and there was just no way with the current budget to be able to afford that," Stava said.

There will also be some compromise on materials used on the bridge. Its surface, for example, will not be flagstone as planned, but rock aggregate that matches materials used in the Gathering Place. Stava said flagstone was the most expensive option, while concrete was the cheapest.

Stava is hopeful demolition of the existing bridge will happen in September and construction of the new one will begin in October, falling in line with work on Zink Dam.

That timeline would see the bridge finished in late 2021 or early 2022, depending on the weather and water releases from Keystone Dam.