Anticipation Builds As Major Arkansas River Projects In Tulsa Near Completion

Caviness said a recreational flume on the east bank is complete but needs final “tuning,” which will happen in a few months.

Wednesday, November 8th 2023, 6:46 pm



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Three big projects in the Arkansas River in Tulsa are nearly complete but won’t open until next Labor Day while testing and final touches are completed.

Engineer Brooke Caviness, with the City of Tulsa, said it’s satisfying to see this stage of the project she’s worked on for 10 years.

“We have this asset here, so we should be enjoying it,” she said.

Caviness said a recreational flume on the east bank is complete but needs final “tuning,” which will happen in a few months.

“We need to run water through the flume, 500 cubic feet per second, to see how the water runs to make sure people can get in there and kayak safely,” she said.

The flume runs 1,000 feet, as long as the river is wide, with pools and drops along the river's east bank. There will be plenty of vantage points to see what's happening, from the new trails built alongside it to the pedestrian bridge above it.

The final tuning can’t happen until there's more water in the river, which is being kept low for work on the west bank to stop petroleum from leaching into the water.

The job will take at least into January, according to the City. After the work is complete, the City plans months of extensive water tests to ensure safety, said Caviness.

On the east bank, what's considered the second phase of Gathering Place is adding several acres of land to open up access from the trails to the water.

“Takes you down to a landing, just above lake elevation, just above the entrance other the flumes, for anyone wanting to kayak, get into the flume,” said Drew Caruthers, the Project Manager with Crossland Construction.

The gates on the dam are down to let water and sand pass during construction, but all or some of the 10 gates can go up to create a lake back to the I-244 bridge. The structure of the pedestrian bridge is done, and lighting is the next step, and the whole project is due to open on Labor Day 2024.

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