Q: What is the scope of the proposed renovation work?
A: The scope includes lead paint remediation, rust removal, repainting, replacing deck surface, epoxy caulking of concrete cracks, and replacement of expansion joints.
Q: How old is the bridge and why was the bridge built?
A: In the mid 1960s in response to public safety concerns related to the expanding Dodge Street corridor, especially the the safety of schoolchildren the City of Omaha (Mayor A.V. Sorenson) developed a pedestrian bridge system, including the Dodge Street Overpass. In partnership with community leaders (the 'Dodge St. Overpass Group') a priority was placed on a meeting public safety goals within City resources while also achieving an aesthetically pleasing design. Eventually, the design of architect/engineer/designer William H. Durand, P.E. was recognized in 1969 as the "Most Beautiful Bridge' (Special Type) by the American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC).
Year Opened: 1968
Q: How much did the bridge originally cost and who built it?
A: The initial low bid of $62,590 was $22,000 more than estimate was rejected as being beyond the City's ability to pay.
Architect: William H. Durand, P.E. (Durand Jackson & Assoc., Inc.)
Builder: Foster-Smetana Co.
Fabricators: Omaha Steel Works
Q: Why isn't the City spending its funds to take care of this project?
A: Councilman Pete Festersen has secured approximately $190,000 in City funds out of the total cost estimate of approximately $340,000. In addition, the City will contribute in-kind construction management services/oversight. The commonly used public-private partnership cost sharing strategy, whereby the remaining balance of the cost estimate met through non-government foundations, corporate co-sponsors, and individual donations as an effective and practical solution.
Omaha has accomplished many wonderful public private projects and this will be another great example.
Q: I don't use the bridge/the bridge doesn't get used much, why should I (care)?
A: For nearly 50 years now and still on a daily basis the bridge has been used City-wide by generations of grade school students, UNO students, dog walkers, joggers, bikers, as well as seasonally by park event goers.
In addition, safe passage for non-vehicular traffic allows the unimpeded flow of vehicular/commercial traffic along busy Dodge Street corridor.
In addition, safe passage for non-vehicular traffic reduces the risk of traffic accidents and public safety costs.
Q: What is the timeline for completion of the renovation work?
A: The fundraising goal was met on August 3, 2016. The Dodge Street Overpass renovation project is scheduled to start the first week of July and is to be completed in time for the landmark’s 50th Anniversary Celebration and the start of the 2017-2018 school year. This model public-private partnership successfully mobilized $150,000 from more than 150 donors from more than 24 zip codes nationwide towards the total cost of $340,000. City bridge maintenance funds matched the private fundraising effort. Ronco Construction and Linder Painting will perform the work on the following schedule:
-The project will begin following the Bank of the West concert in Memorial Park and the July 4th holiday weekend and be completed by Mid-August in time for the start of the school year for UNO and St. Margaret Mary students
-The scope includes encased lead paint remediation, repainting, deck resurfacing, and new historical and landmark signage
-The Overpass will be closed to pedestrians during the duration of the work and temporary pedestrian detours across Dodge Street will be posted
-In order to minimize the impact on vehicular traffic, select lane restrictions on Dodge Street will occur only during overnight hours (10 p.m. – 5 a.m.) and periodically on weekends.
-The connecting trail headed south into Elmwood Park is being upgraded to match the trail segment completed to the north last year to enhance the linkage between the bridge and two major city parks for pedestrians, joggers and bikers. The O! public art piece at the base of the bridge is also being refurbished and will remain in its current location.
To complement the project, an open-to-the-public exhibit of information and images is to be put on display at the Barbara Weitz Community Engagement Center on the nearby University of Nebraska at Omaha campus. The exhibit will also provide historical information and photos on the bridge’s 50-year connection to the surrounding neighborhoods.