Gates to be installed in North Bottoms to deter baseball traffic
Mayor Don Wesely today announced that the city has awarded the bid to build the pedestrian/bicycle overpass connecting the city's new ballpark and the Haymarket area. Sampson Construction of Lincoln was the low bidder at about $2.8 million for construction of the bridge's approach ramps, connecting spans and support towers.
The city had hoped to award the bid in May, but the two bids received then were much higher than expected. Officials had wanted the pedestrian overpass to be completed by September to allow for walking access to Memorial Stadium for those parking at the Haymarket Park lots. The quick timeline to try to open the overpass for this fall's football season resulted in the first bids coming in over budget. Construction is now expected to start in September, with completion next spring.
"While we are disappointed that the overpass will not be ready for the upcoming football season, we could not exceed our available funds," said Mayor Wesely. "We are excited to see this important project move forward, and we look forward to opening it for the 2002 baseball season."
The Mayor again thanked Congressman Doug Bereuter for his efforts to secure $3.5 million in federal funds for the project. The total cost of the project, including design work, inspections and right-of-way acquisition, is estimated to be $5.7 million. This is within the $5.8 million approved by the City Council for the project. The City and the Railroad Transportation Safety District are providing the remaining funding.
Haymarket Park, which opened June 1st, is the new home of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln baseball and softball teams and the Lincoln Saltdogs, a new Northern League baseball team. The project is the result of a partnership among the City of Lincoln, the UNL and Lincoln Professional Baseball.
The pedestrian overpass will consist of two side-by-side bridges about 265 feet long. They will enter the Haymarket area on 8th Street north and east of the main Post Office. The pre-fabricated bridge spans are now being built by Continental Bridge in Minnesota at a cost of about $1.1 million.
Also today, Mayor Wesely announced that gates will be installed in the North Bottoms neighborhood to stop traffic from traveling through the area to get to Haymarket Park. A majority of members of the neighborhood association attending last night's meeting with city officials voted in favor of the gates.
"I want to thank the residents of the North Bottoms for their patience and for working with us on some options for resolving this situation," said Wesely. "I believe we have a solution that will keep baseball traffic out of the neighborhood, but still allow access for those who live there."
The gates will be closed 90 minutes before games and about 90 minutes after. Gates will be open during the games. Gates will be located at Charleston Street about 50 to 75 feet east of 6th Street; "X" Street just west of 7th Street; and Vine Street just east of 6th Street.
Those attending games at Haymarket Park are encouraged to use Sun Valley Boulevard.