Public Invited to See Proposed Design of Harris Overpass

December 1, 2006

The public is invited to learn about the latest proposals for the Harris Overpass Replacement Project at an open house meeting from 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, December 5 at the Ridnour Room, 809 'P' Street. The overpass carries 'O' Street traffic over the rail yards and the Haymarket Landmark District from 3rd to 9th streets in downtown Lincoln.

The open house will include an animated three-dimensional illustration of design elements currently being considered. The design elements were created with input gathered from the public during past open house meetings and from the project's citizen advisory. Additional information will be provided on construction, including basic structural dimensions and features; vehicle and pedestrian access and detours during construction; future parking under the bridge when the project is complete; turning lanes at the bridge's touch-down points at 9th and 'O' streets and 3rd and 'O' streets.

The bridge replacement project is now in its final design phase. The overpass is scheduled to be closed for construction late in 2007, with construction lasting about one year. Closure of the overpass will save about $5 million in construction costs and reduce construction time by about half, compared to an alternative option to have limited traffic during a two-year construction period.

Staff from the City of Lincoln, The Schemmer Associates and Sinclair Hille Architects will be at the open house to take comments and answer questions. Free parking vouchers are available for those who park at the Haymarket Parking Garage at 9th and 'Q' streets.

The viaduct was completed in 1955 and is named in honor of John F. Harris, who donated the land for Pioneers Park. The overpass needs to be replaced because of deteriorating steel girders and concrete. Construction costs for replacement of the proposed structure are currently estimated at $16.5 million, and the estimate will be refined as the design progresses to completion. Funding for the project will come mainly from non-City sources, including the Federal Highway Bridge Rehabilitation and Replacement Program, which is administered locally by the Nebraska Department of Roads and the Railroad Transportation Safety District.

In addition to the structure itself, expenses include design and construction engineering, right of way purchase, utilities, off-site improvements for detour routes and costs associated with working over railroad tracks. Developing an incentive program to encourage early completion also will be a factor in the final total project cost.

For more information on the open house, contact Reggi Carlson at The Schemmer Associates, 488-2500, or visit the project website at harrisoverpass.com.