Construction has begun on a new Oklahoma City landmark: the I-40 Pedestrian Bridge, also called the SkyDance Bridge, will allow pedestrians to cross the new route of I-40 near Robinson Avenue. It’s a part of the MAPS 3 downtown park, which will be built in 2013. The bridge was designed by Professor Hans Butzer and is supposed to resemble the scissor-tailed flycatcher, Oklahoma’s state bird.
The bridge is currently under construction—the large wings are still being lifted into place. Once that’s done, construction crews will finish the decking, the sidewalks leading to the bridge, and do some landscaping. It’s expected to open in late spring of this year. When finished, it will measure 380 feet long. The bridge is 18 stories high and will be 30 feet wide. The wings reach up 185 feet above it and will be translucent. They will glow from within at night.
So how much is this weird looking bridge going to cost? The final bill is $6.6 million, with $3.5 million of that coming from the Oklahoma State Department of Transportation’s federal funds. The City of Oklahoma City is paying for the rest.
The SkyDance Bridge is supposed to help connect the heart of the city to the Oklahoma River area. The catchphrase for this project and the others planned with it is “core to shore.” Well, I’m not really sure you can claim Oklahoma has any type of “shore,” but it is a cute saying. I’m also not really convinced we needed this bridge. Oklahoma isn’t known for having a lot of pedestrian traffic. I imagine a number of special events will be held on and around the bridge, so it will get used at certain times of the year. Beyond that? I don’t know. City officials also want it to be a new landmark for the city. With those tall, glowing wings, I’m sure people will talk about it, although I don’t know if that will qualify it as a landmark.
What do you think? Is the SkyDance Bridge a great addition to the city, or an eyesore? Was it worth the money? Will you be using it?
Here are some other blogs that discuss the bridge:
Doug Dawg has a great history of the Core To Shore plan.
Imaginative America has a great blog on Hans Butzer.
Oklahomans for the Arts have some great images of the bridge and the sculpture.
The OKC Central blog has a great video on the project.