Southwest Boulevard lanes to be closed for Route 66 statue assembly
BY KEVIN CANFIELD World Staff Writer
Friday, October 26, 2012
10/26/12 at 6:22 AM
The remainder of the bronze "East Meets West" sculpture has been delivered to Tulsa and is being assembled at the Cyrus Avery Centennial Plaza, city officials said Thursday.
"The foundry owner and the artist, they're working together on getting it set up," city spokeswoman Lara Weber said.
Weber said she expects the assembly to be completed by Monday.
No date has been set for the formal unveiling of the statue, but Weber said she expects the event to be held in November.
The Cyrus Avery Centennial Plaza is at the intersection of Riverside Drive and Southwest Boulevard.
To make room for the statue's assembly, the two north lanes of Southwest Boulevard near the plaza will be closed through Friday, with one lane to be closed on Saturday, Weber said.
"Sunday, we hope to have no lanes closed," she said.
Tulsa County residents in 2003 approved $1.2 million in Vision 2025 funds for the project - part of $15 million allocated for Route 66 projects. The sculpture was scheduled to be finished in 2009, but the contract was modified to allow for delivery this year.
The sculpture, by Texas artist Robert Summers, features Avery and family in a Model T as they encounter a horse-drawn carriage on its way from the west Tulsa oil fields.
At 135 percent actual size, the sculpture weighs nearly 20,000 pounds, stretches more than 60 feet from end to end, and rises 15 feet in the air.
Avery, a former Tulsa County commissioner, is considered the father of Route 66 because he lobbied Congress in 1926 to make it a national highway stretching from Chicago to Los Angeles.
At the time, Tulsa was figured to be the perfect spot for the road to cross the Arkansas River because of the 11th Street Bridge.
The statue was cast by Deep in the Heart Art Foundry in Bastrop, Texas. The foundry's owner, Clint Howard, has estimated that he and his staff have cast and welded nearly 1,000 pieces of bronze to make the statue.
Original Print Headline: Traffic lanes to close for Route 66 statue assembly
Kevin Canfield 918-581-8313
Deep in the Heart Art Foundry workers install the remainder of the bronze "East Meets West" sculpture at Riverside Drive and Southwest Boulevard on Thursday. CORY YOUNG/Tulsa World
Deep in the Heart Art Foundry workers Chris Hill (right) and Jorge Villalobos install monumental statues Thursday. CORY YOUNG/Tulsa World