City to start construction on pedestrian tunnel through Santa Fe Depot

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OKLAHOMA CITY - When it's all finished, Bricktown between Reno and Sheridan will look different.

“We plan to put stairs down to Bricktown and have a bridge that goes over to the second level of Bricktown and just really dress it up,” said architect for the City of OKC Kaye Burlison.

The City of Oklahoma City filed a $6.6 million building permit application on Friday to build a tunnel under the railroad tracks.

It's phase three of the Santa Fe Depot project where pedestrians can literally walk from Bricktown through a tunnel into the Santa Fe Station to get to downtown Oklahoma City.

“The idea is to connect downtown to Bricktown through this very nice building that`s really a gem that people have overlooked for so many years,” Burlison said.

The Art Deco building harkens back to the 30s when trains were a major mode of transportation for travelers.

Trains still pass through, which provides a challenge as the city works to create a tunnel underneath the tracks.

“It`s a pedestrian underpass that`s going to be a concrete box, if you will, that`s cut under the tracks and right now, we have three sets of tracks and we`ll have to move them three times,” Burlison said.

That part of the project will cost another $2 million, according to Kaye Burlison.

The goal is to make it an intermodal transportation hub to rent a bicycle, hop on the MAPS 3 street car, get on a train or walk from downtown to Bricktown.

A $28.4 million project paid for with local, state and federal dollars.

Burlison says construction on the tunnel will start in August and is expected to be complete by the end of next year.

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