LINCOLN — City boosters hope thousands will tread upon Lincoln's newest pedestrian bridge while millions more see the distinctive structure on TV.
Lincoln Mayor Chris Beutler unveiled a design Thursday that features seven panels embedded with large, capital letters that spell the city's name. The illuminated letters will appear on both sides and the top of the bridge.
The 611-foot-long bridge will be installed near the $180 million Pinnacle Bank Arena, a work in progress that will be home to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln basketball teams after it opens next fall. The bridge also won't be far from Memorial Stadium, where Husker football sometimes attracts inflated aircraft that produce aerial shots during game broadcasts.
“You can imagine what the bridge will look like from a blimp,” Beutler said.
Because the city is awaiting bids, Beutler declined to say how much the bridge is expected to cost, but he said it will involve no federal transportation dollars. The bridge should be completed next year.
The project partners paid $90,000 to Dimensional Innovations of Shawnee Mission, Kan., to design the bridge.
It is the latest feature in the $349 million West Haymarket redevelopment project, which includes the arena, parking garages, street improvements and other infrastructure work.
The bridge will span railroad tracks northwest of the arena, connecting it to parking garages, an outdoor festival area and a planned ice rink.
“I'd say not a shoddy other side of the tracks,” Beutler said.
During events that sell out the 16,500-seat arena, as many as 6,000 people could use the bridge, city officials estimated.
Historical information about Lincoln will be presented on panels for those walking across the bridge. The design also features benches and illuminated rails.
“We think it will be a great, iconic piece for Lincoln,” said Stephen Hopkins, one of the bridge designers.
When complete, the pedestrian bridge to the new arena will be nearly 200 feet shorter than the one that crosses railroad tracks to connect the Haymarket area of downtown Lincoln with the Haymarket Park baseball field. It will be only a fourth as long as the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge, a 3,000-foot span over the Missouri River than connects Omaha and Council Bluffs.
The Kerrey bridge cost $22 million and included $19 million in federal funds.
The bridge design was produced by Dimensional Innovations of Shawnee Mission, Kan.
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