KEARNEY, Neb. —A new bridge over the north channel of the Platte River will fill a gap in the Fort Kearny Hike-Bike Trail. The bridge will replace a wooden structure destroyed by wildfire in 2009.
Federal Department of Transportation funds earmarked for trail enhancements and distributed through the State Department of Roads will pay 80 percent of the cost of the bridge. Local supporters said they have pledges from state and local entities and private donors to cover the rest.
What had seemed to be a project going nowhere earlier this year got a big push during the summer from Bill Berryman of Kearney, a former Nebraska Game and Parks Commission director.
Berryman said the original estimate for replacing the 300-foot-long bridge was about $1.5 million, but the true cost won't be known until Game and Parks seeks bids early next year.
Fort Kearny State Park Superintendent Gene Hunt said the new bridge probably will be made of fire-safe steel and concrete, with design features that will give it a more natural look.
Berryman said federal laws protecting migratory and nesting birds prevent construction in the channel during nesting season, “so we basically can't get started until next September.”
— World-Herald News Service