South Omaha Veterans Memorial BridgeEdit profile
The South Omaha Veterans Memorial Bridge (originally the South Omaha Bridge but renamed the Veterans Memorial Bridge in 1995) was a continuous warren through truss bridge over the Missouri River connecting Omaha, Nebraska with Council Bluffs, Iowa via U.S. Highway 275. Omaha floated a $2 million bond issue for the bridge in 1931. However when the bonds did not sell the Omaha Bridge Commission was formed to secure financing from the Public Works Administration. The initial design by the Kansas City architects Ash, Howard, Needles and Tammen called for the bridge to have seven spans. However when the War Department announced plans to reroute the river channel, the design was changed to two 525-foot (160 m), continuously supported, Warren through spans and a series of Warren deck truss approach spans. It was built by the Kansas City Bridge Company opening on January 18, 1936. It is 22.2 feet (6.8 m) wide and 2,126 feet (648 m) long. The piers were initially on dry land, since the river had not been rerouted. Tolls on the bridge were discontinued on September 25, 1947. The bridge provided a much-needed direct route across the Missouri River to the Omaha Stockyards for livestock delivery trucks. Before the South Omaha Bridge was built trucks had to cross the Douglas Street Bridge and drive through downtown Omaha to reach the packinghouse district. Although listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1992, the bridge was torn down so a new four-lane girder bridge could be constructed with a target opening date in 2010. The new bridge will provide for four 12-foot-wide thru lanes (3.7 m) and a 4-foot-wide raised median (1.2 m) with 10-foot-wide shoulders (3.0 m) and a 10-foot-wide bike trail (3.0 m). The new bridge will be 4,300 feet (1,300 m) long and 87 feet 8 inches (26.72 m) wide. The existing bridge is 4,378 feet (1,334 m) long and provides a clear roadway width of only 22 feet 6 inches (6.86 m). In November 2006 Nebraska placed a 5-ton vehicle limit on the bridge. On June 11, 2008, an additional height restriction requiring vehicles to be under 8 feet (2.4 m) was imposed. On September 8, 2009, at 9 am CDT, the bridge closed so that the new bridge's construction will continue. The bridge was demolished by March 2010. The new bridge opened May 28, 2010.