While a few bridges between Iowa and Illinois over the Mississippi River are still closed or restricted due to flooding and flood damage, the main bridge between Council Bluffs and Omaha is now closed for construction.
Carl Burns, spokesman for the Nebraska Department of Roads, says the Veterans’ Memorial Bridge will be closed about two months to rework 13th Street and Missouri Avenue in Omaha.
Burns says, "That’s the reason for the 60-day closure of the bridge is to complete that intersection on the Nebraska side." That primary span over the Missouri River which joins Omaha and Council Bluffs was barricaded earlier this week, forcing detours for many thousands of daily commuters.
Even though it will reopen in September, Burns says drivers will need to get used to that bridge being closed. He says, "And then in late summer 2009, we’ll close that for about nine months." Burns says once the bridge closes next summer, it’ll be shut down for good as a replacement bridge is under construction.
Burns says, "Late summer or early fall in 2010, we’ll open up traffic back onto the new structure." Traffic on the bridge is heavy and getting heavier. Two years ago, the bridge saw 12,000 cars a day. Now, it carries more than 20,000. Just south of Omaha/Council Bluffs, the bridge that connects Glenwood, Iowa, and Plattsmouth, Nebraska, is also closed for repairs.