Bellevue Public Works Director Jeff Roberts says the time has come for the Highway 370 bridge over Fort Crook Road to be demolished and replaced with a roundabout or a signalized intersection.

The Bellevue City Council agreed unanimously at its July 2 meeting to hire the Omaha engineering firm Alfred Benesch & Company to offer recommendations on the future of the bridge.

The bridge became the property of the City of Bellevue in June 2014 after the state of Nebraska relinquished to the city all of Highway 370 east of Arboretum Drive to the Bellevue Bridge.

Roberts has previously questioned the usefulness of the bridge. He has said the bridge’s retaining walls and approaches all need work, and that the cost of maintaining a bridge that cost $2.8 million to build in 1989 will likely prove a heavy burden on future finances.

The contract, which cost the city $22,000, requires the engineering firm to advise whether the bridge should be rehabilitated and maintained, or whether it should be replaced with a roundabout or converted to an at-grade intersection.

The contract commits Benesch to conduct three meetings during the duration of the study. The first will outline concepts and ideas; the second will review those concepts; the third will be a final presentation of options.

Estimated construction costs and an assessment of anticipated maintenance costs will accompany each alternative.

In other business, council members:

• Approved an event license for Victory Riding Academy to host a free event at Hastings Banner Park in west Bellevue where horse rides, games, food and entertainment will be provided to members of the military and first responders and their families. The event will be Sept. 21 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., with a rain date set for Sept. 22.

• Rehired the Omaha accounting firm BKD LLP to audit city finances for fiscal years ending 2019-2023. A condition was added that Bellevue’s audit be rotated between different members of the firm at three-year intervals.

The condition is intended to address concerns that the longstanding relationship between the firm, or particular persons with the firm, and the city, might tend to reduce the rigor of the audit.

• Granted a Class “C” liquor license to Los Tapatios Mexican Bar and Grill, 3905 Twin Creek Drive. The restaurant is replacing Ixtapa Mexican Grill, which recently closed.

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