Mayor Don Wesely, U.S. Representative Doug Bereuter and University of Nebraska officials will join NEBCO, Inc. and the Lincoln Saltdogs baseball team to dedicate the new Haymarket Pedestrian Connector Saturday, July 13. The bridge, which connects Haymarket Park with the Haymarket area of downtown Lincoln, will be fully lit for the first time at the beginning of the seventh inning of the Saltdogs game against the Joliet Jackhammers. Tickets for the 7:05 p.m. game are available by calling 474-2255.
"The lighting ceremony will honor the many people who worked together to bring professional baseball back to Lincoln and to build Haymarket Park and the new bridge," said Wesely. "Baseball and the spirit of cooperation are both very much alive in Lincoln."
Haymarket Park is the result of a partnership among the City of Lincoln, the University of Nebraska and the Lincoln Saltdogs, owned by NEBCO, Inc. Haymarket Park, which opened June 1, 2001, is also home to the UNL baseball and softball teams.
The pedestrian/bicycle connector project cost about $4.5 million. Rep. Bereuter was instrumental in securing $3.5 million in federal funds, and the Railroad Transportation Safety District provided $1 million. The two side-by-side spans of the bridge are 265 feet long and enter the Haymarket area on 8th Street next to the main Post Office.
The west span of the connector opened temporarily May 25 for the Saltdogs first home game of the season and for the UNL baseball teamís post-season games. The entire bridge is now open to the public and is part of the City trails system. The Haymarket Park parking lots will also be available for UNL football parking this fall, and the connector will provide access from Haymarket Park to Memorial Stadium.
The pre-fabricated bridge spans were built by Continental Bridge in Minnesota. Sampson Construction of Lincoln built the approach ramps, connecting spans and support towers.
The bridge has closed for about half an hour on three nights for fireworks displays at the end of Saltdog games and will briefly close again for fireworks on Thursday, August 29.