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River repairs to cost millions due to flooding

Posted at 9:03 PM, Jun 19, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-20 00:09:08-04

TULSA -- The River Parks reopened a few weeks ago, and while there's steady improvements with debris clean up, it'll take years and millions of dollars to fully repair the river.

"It was such a sight to see the river, it hadn’t been that high since the '86 flood," said Elliott Callicoat, who uses the trails along Riverside.

Once the flood water receded, you could see how badly the trails and parks were damaged.

"We had some damage at 41st street to the plaza, the fountains and pumps that operate the splash pad were under water and were damaged," said Matt Meyer, Director of River Parks Authority.

Thanks to more than 400 volunteers the trails and parks are back open, but with a few bumps in the road.

"Just getting down here I couldn’t skate I had to jump off my board a couple times because of debris or road construction," said Callicoat.

Meyer says the clean up can be broken down intro three steps. The first two which have quicker solutions, are debris along the trails and sinkhole repairs. All of the debris is pretty much taken care of, thanks to the volunteers who came out several times to clean up the trails.

The sinkhole at 36th street along Riverside is filled in and repaired, but crews have Riverside down to one lane near 34th street to fix another huge sinkhole.

"If you see a sinkhole off to the side, and there’s a barricade just don’t go there but other than that, trail’s open," said Meyer.

The last step, which is the longest and most expensive, is river bank stabilization.

"We have an estimate with both the east and the west bank to repair it correctly is about $8 million. Historically, the River Parks Authority is 51 percent private support, and 49 percent public support. Meyer says they're planning on sending in a FEMA application.

The trail in front of River Spirit is open, but the trail behind the casino is still closed. The fountains are closed at the splash pad at 41st and Riverside because of flood damage. The dock to the rowing club was also washed away in the flood water.

Meyer says to the average person using the trails to run or go biking, things should generally be back to normal.

"I don’t think it’s causing any issues but it’s not ideal," said Callicoat.

To donate or volunteer for River Parks Authority projects, you can visit their website.

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