Skydance Bridge

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Skydance Bridge
Oklahoma Skydance Bridge in 2019.jpg
The bridge in 2019
Coordinates35°27′23″N 97°31′03″W / 35.45650°N 97.51742°W / 35.45650; -97.51742Coordinates: 35°27′23″N 97°31′03″W / 35.45650°N 97.51742°W / 35.45650; -97.51742
LocaleDowntown Oklahoma City
Other name(s)
  • Skydance Pedestrian Bridge
  • Scissortail Bridge
Named forScissor-tailed flycatcher
OwnerCity of Oklahoma City
Maintained byOklahoma Department of Transportation
DesignTruss bridge
Total length380 feet
Width20 feet
Height192 feet
ArchitectMKEC Engineering Consultants Inc.
Successful competition designButzer Design
Constructed byManhattan Road & Bridge Co.
Construction startAugust 2011
Construction endApril 2012
Construction cost$6.8 million
OpenedApril 23, 2012
InauguratedApril 23, 2012

The Skydance Bridge (oftentimes called the Skydance Pedestrian Bridge or Scissortail Bridge) is a pedestrian bridge and public artwork in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, United States.[1]

History and design[edit]

The bridge at night, 2014

On May 15, 2002, the United States Department of Transportation approved a plan for the Oklahoma City Crosstown realignment. Included in the plan was the requirement that the city build a pedestrian bridge to cross Interstate 40.[2][3] In 2008, Oklahoma City mayor Mick Cornett announced a design competition for the bridge.[4] Architects Hans and Torrey Butzer conceived of the bridge as being inspired by the mating dance of the scissor-tailed flycatcher, Oklahoma’s state bird.[5][6][7] The double-winged structure would be a sculptural landmark and provide support to a pedestrian deck that connects two portions of Oklahoma City’s Scissortail Park. The concept was developed into the competition-winning design by Hans Butzer, Stan Carroll, Ken Fitzsimmons, Jeremy Gardner, Bret Johnston, Laurent Massenat, Chris Ramseyer, and David Wanzer in collaboration with MKEC Inc.[8]

The location of the bridge was chosen as part of the "Core to Shore" initiative, which was intended to connect the core of downtown Oklahoma City to the shore of the Oklahoma River. An urban park was in the early stages of planning in the same area as part of the MAPS 3 project; the bridge connects the park's upper and lower portions.[9]

The city allocated a budget of $6.8 million. The cost was originally estimated to be around $5.2 million, but unexpected problems pushed the estimate to $12.8 million.[10] To lower costs, part of the bridge was redesigned, including the elimination of large cables originally intended to stretch from the top of the bird design to the base of the bridge.[10] Construction was originally expected to run from March to November 2011, but due to the cost issues construction did not begin until August 2011. It was constructed at the same time as the new Interstate 40.[11][10]

The Manhattan Road & Bridge Company built the 380-feet long, 192-feet tall, 20-feet wide bridge.[12] The bird sculpture was completed in December 2011, and construction was finished in April 2012.[13] The bridge officially opened on April 23, 2012 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony which included appearances by design architects and public officials.[14] The design includes fully programmable energy efficient LED lights that illuminate the bridge from dusk to dawn.[13][15][16]

In June 2019, city leaders approved a $840,000 repair project on the bridge to replace the wood deck, which had reached its lifespan. It was replaced with a composite fiberglass deck and underwent construction from summer 2019 through summer 2020.[17][18]


In 2012, the structure was named one of the 50 best public art projects in the United States by the Americans for the Arts' "Public Art Network Year in Review".[19]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Skydance Bridge | City of OKC". City of Oklahoma City. Retrieved June 27, 2019.
  2. ^ "Road to Tomorrow At Last, I-40 Reroute Nears Start Date". The Oklahoman. May 15, 2002. Retrieved December 15, 2019.
  3. ^ Kimball, Michael (November 23, 2011). "Skydance Bridge about to rise up in Oklahoma City". The Oklahoman. Retrieved December 25, 2019.
  4. ^ "OKC FACTS & HISTORY". Visit OKC. Retrieved December 25, 2019.
  5. ^ "Skydance Bridge".
  6. ^ Pike, Hannah (February 25, 2019). "Award-winning OU architecture dean balances teaching, design". OU Daily.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  7. ^ Manwarren, Leigh. "SkyDance Bridge Design". University of Oklahoma College of Engineering. Retrieved December 25, 2019.
  8. ^ Ramseyer, Chris; Butzer, Hans. "Reaching for the Sky" (PDF). Structure Magazine. Retrieved February 25, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  9. ^ "Skydance Bridge". Butzer Architects and Urbanism. Retrieved December 25, 2019.
  10. ^ a b c Dean, Bryan (October 27, 2010). "Skydance Bridge to be redesigned". The Oklahoman. Retrieved December 25, 2019.
  11. ^ "Skydance Bridge construction in OKC set for August start". The Oklahoman. June 22, 2011. Retrieved December 25, 2019.
  12. ^ "Award of Merit, Transportation: Oklahoma City Skydance Bridge". Engineering News-Record. December 12, 2012. Retrieved December 25, 2019.
  13. ^ a b "SKYDANCE BRIDGE". Americans for the Arts. May 15, 2019. Retrieved December 25, 2019.
  14. ^ Ingle Oingle, Olivia (June 19, 2012). "Oklahoma City SkyDance Bridge is one of nation's top 50 public arts projects". The Oklahoman. Retrieved December 25, 2019.
  15. ^ "Skydance bridge opens to pedestrians, lights up night". The Oklahoman. April 24, 2012. Retrieved December 25, 2019.
  16. ^ "SkyDance Bridge Officially Unveiled In Oklahoma City". KWTV. April 23, 2012. Retrieved December 25, 2019.
  17. ^ Querry, K. (June 19, 2019). "City leaders approve plan to repair Skydance Bridge". KFOR-TV. Retrieved December 25, 2019.
  18. ^ Torp, Kari (February 6, 2020). "Skydance Bridge Repairs Could Last Until Summer". KWTV-DT. Retrieved December 17, 2020.
  19. ^ "SkyDance Bridge In OKC One Of Nation's Top 50 Public Art Projects". KWTV. June 18, 2012. Retrieved June 27, 2019.

External links[edit]