Groundbreaking Held for Vision Tulsa Zink Dam

DISCUSSING PLANS: Tulsa City Councilor Phil Lakin discusses plans for the upgraded Zinc Dam before the groundbreaking. Behind Lakin from left are Tulsa Regional Chamber Vice Chair of Community Development Gordy Guest, Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum and Tulsa County District 2 Commissioner Karen Keith. The event was held on the river bank trail at the Gathering Place, with a view of the old Zink Dam in the background.

Mayor G.T. Bynum, City Councilor Phil Lakin and Tulsa County District 2 Commissioner Karen Keith held a groundbreaking August 13 for the Vision Tulsa Project – Zink Dam Modifications. Also speaking at the event was Gordy Guest, Tulsa Regional Chamber Vice Chair of Community Development. The event was held on the river bank trail at the Gathering Place, with a view of the old Zink Dam.
“After talking about it since 1964, Tulsans are finally moving forward with this project which will create a lake in the Arkansas River,” Bynum said. “This will transform the way Tulsans use and enjoy our greatest natural feature, and it will be located right next to the Gathering Place – the greatest park gift to any city in American history. The design will also make our river corridor safer than it is today. I am incredibly grateful for the citizens of Tulsa making this investment in our city.”
The $48 million project will make structural changes to the dam by adding gates and a stairstep design to improve safety and remove the dangerous undertow. Gates will be replaced, and the number of gates will increase from three to 15. The gates, measuring between 3 feet and 10 feet in height, will be made of stainless steel to guard against corrosion.
The pool depth will be increased to 10 feet at the dam, providing improved fish habitat, increased depth capacity for rowing events, and a larger Zink Lake – raising the depth 3 feet and lengthening the lake to just over 2 miles, reaching to upstream of the I-244 bridge.
The project also will include a 1,050-foot-long recreational flume along the east bank of the river south of the pedestrian bridge. The flume will have seven drops or pools, and potential users will include kayakers, tubers and surfers. Another important part of this project is stabilization of the east bank of the Arkansas River near the Gathering Place and the flumes on the east side of the river.
The engineering design consultant for the project is CH2MHill, and the contractor is Crossland Construction. Construction began in August, and the project will take 28 months to complete.
The existing Zink Dam was constructed in 1982, measuring 7 feet high and 1,030 feet long. The gates on the old dam have become inoperable and have needed to be replaced.
About Vision Tulsa
An $884 million sales tax renewal package approved by voters in 2016, is making substantial investments in economic development, education, public safety, streets and transportation needs citywide. With citizen priorities providing the driving force behind the creation of Vision Tulsa, transformative projects and enhancements are setting the stage for a bright future for Tulsa.