Some areas around Devon Tower to reopen, streetcar service to resume
Officials with Devon Energy Corp. on Tuesday said progress in securing damaged areas of the Devon Tower will allow the reopening of some areas that have been cordoned off for nearly a week.
“The OKC Streetcar will again have access to Robinson Avenue and the southern half of the Myriad Gardens park can reopen,” officials said in a news release Tuesday afternoon.
The tower was damaged last week during an equipment malfunction. A basket carrying two workers could be seen swinging wildly at the top of the tower and smashed into the top of the building, sending glass and other debris raining down on city streets.
“While it is safe for the streetcar to resume operations, the street closures remain in effect for pedestrians and vehicle traffic along Robinson and Sheridan avenues,” officials said Tuesday. “Many areas of the Myriad Gardens, particularly those accessed via Reno Avenue on the south side of the park, will be reopened.”
Although they are recommending the opening of Robinson Avenue for the streetcar service to resume, Devon officials said the road’s opening was up to Oklahoma City officials.
Eric Wenger, Oklahoma City public works director, said the city has been working with Devon closely to determine when areas around the building are safe.
“I would say that we’re relying, very much so, on the Devon building engineers that are the experts on that building,” Wenger said.
Wenger said recent storms have hampered efforts to secure the building, keeping the streets and nearby Myriad Botanical Gardens closed longer than anticipated.
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Streetcars were operating along Robinson Avenue Tuesday afternoon. Wenger said the city’s next step is to open the road for all pedestrian and vehicle traffic.
There is no firm timetable for when Sheridan Avenue and the north side of the Gardens could reopen, Wenger said.
“I imagine Sheridan will be closed for a few more days, so, we’re really going to have to go day-to-day on Devon’s progress,” he said. “I wish I could offer a timeline on Sheridan. I think we’re getting there, and hopefully it will be soon.”
City inspectors are not responsible for inspecting the building after repairs are made to the tower, said Kristy Yager, spokeswoman for the city. She said if the repairs were structural in nature then the city would inspect, but since the damage was to the building's facade, Devon engineers and contractors would be responsible for inspecting the work.