Lincoln Mayor Don Wesely said construction began today, Monday, September 16, on the new overpass across the railroad tracks at 3rd and "A" streets. New roads to access "A" street will also be built to improve traffic circulation in the area. The project is expected to be completed by early winter 2003. Plantings and landscaping are expected to be completed in spring 2004.
"Increased rail traffic has made traveling through this neighborhood difficult," said Mayor Wesely. "The City has been working to find a solution since the 1980s, and I want to thank the people of the neighborhood for their patience and their involvement in this project. This is a very important project for Southwest Lincoln."
"As the Southwest District City Council representative and as a member of the Railroad Transportation Safety District, I’m excited that we are finally able to move forward on this important project," said City Council Member Jonathan Cook.
Over the past two years, alternatives solutions have been reviewed and evaluated. The final design calls for the bridge to be built south of the existing "A" Street where it will have minimal impact on homes. The bridge will start at 5th Street and touch back down at 1st, spanning the double tracks on 3rd Street. As part of the overall project, the Union Pacific tracks along 4th street were removed earlier this year.
"The bridge is viewed not just as a transportation feature, but also as a continuation of neighborhood revitalization efforts under way in the neighborhood," said Wynn Hjermstad, Manager of the Community Development division of the City’s Urban Development Department. "A great deal of attention has been given to the aesthetics of the bridge to make sure it enhances this historic area."
The total project cost is about $10 million. Most of the funding is through the Railroad Transportation Safety District, with some funding provided by the Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railway Company (BNSF) and the State of Nebraska. The project has been jointly managed by the City Urban Development and Public Works and Utilities Departments.
The overpass is the last of several projects identified by the South Salt Creek Neighborhood Association to help mitigate the impact of the construction of BNSF’s second main line along 3rd Street. Projects already completed include the paving of 3rd street from "A" to "H" streets; the paving of four alleys; construction of the pedestrian underpass at 3rd and F, including landscaping and a mural; and landscaping along 3rd Street. Plans area also being made for a paving and landscaping on 4th Street where the railroad tracks were removed.