The Skydance Bridge will need a redesign as its projected cost has soared to more than twice the original estimate, city officials said Tuesday.
The pedestrian bridge will span the new Interstate 40 Crosstown Expressway when it opens in 2012 and will feature an 18-story tall sculpture inspired by the "skydance" of the scissortail flycatcher. The bridge will connect the northern and southern sections of a planned 70-acre downtown park included in MAPS 3.
Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett said Tuesday he was "mildly disappointed" that the city had to re-think its design for the bridge.
"I just always hate to take less than our first choice," Cornett said. "It's not my instinct to settle for a lesser design. If we had more time, I'd like to get creative and see if we could find more money."
The city is running low on time because construction of the new I-40 is ongoing and the bridge must be completed before it opens.
The estimate for the cost of the bridge was about $5.2 million, well under the $6.8 million budget. But unexpected problems pushed the cost estimate to $12.8 million as architects were working on finalizing the design, city officials said.
The original design called for cables connected to the massive sculpture that would support the 30-foot-wide bridge.
Assistant City Manager Jim Thompson said the state Transportation Department had problems with the design because it wasn't capable of supporting large maintenance vehicles.
State officials also suggested the city might be required to use only bridge-certified fabricators for the steel needed for the project, raising the price on materials. The location of the bridge also changed slightly so it wouldn't be so close to Union Station, Thompson said.
"There will be a change in the appearance, but the functionality will still be there," Thompson said. "I think this is going to be a significant symbolic structure and will have an exceptional look."
The bridge's main feature, the giant sculpture, remains unchanged. Cables will still run from the sculpture to the main part of the bridge, but they will no longer be load-bearing, Thompson said.
Instead, the lower part of the bridge will have a truss design, which will change the look of the bridge. It also will be thinner, going from 30 feet wide to 20 feet wide.
Cornett said although he would like to use the original design, he expects the redesigned bridge will still accomplish the city's goal of making the bridge stand out to motorists who don't plan to stop as they drive through Oklahoma City.
"The bridge as currently designed will significantly raise the bar for pedestrian bridges in Oklahoma City," Cornett said.