Beginning after 8 a.m. Monday, May 4, all lanes of Sheridan Boulevard will be closed from Woodsdale Boulevard to 33rd Street for the replacement of the historic Penny Bridges. The street as well the Rock Island Trail from Calvert to South streets will remain closed for the duration of the project, scheduled for completion in late fall.
The side-by-side Penny Bridges were built in 1934 to carry Sheridan Boulevard traffic over the railroad, which is now a trail. They were built on both sides of a wooden trestle, which carried streetcar tracks over the railroad. The bridges got their name because the streetcar fare increased a penny if you rode past the trestle. The trolley operated from 1909 to 1945.
Before the bridges are demolished, a load test will be conducted as part of a larger, ongoing study by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) and the Nebraska Department of Roads. UNL Associate Professor Maria Szerszen will lead the test, which will be used to more accurately post load limits on older bridges in the future. Once monitoring equipment is in place, two loaded dump trucks will be driven onto the bridge, and the results will be recorded. The project also includes taking core samples and testing on the bridge deck for use in other UNL bridge studies.
For more information about the Penny Bridges Project, visit sheridanpennybridges.com.