The Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge is now open, joining Omaha and Council Bluffs. High school bands from both cities entertained thousands of people who attended the official opening on Sunday. Bob Howard, spokesman for the Council Bluffs Parks Department, says the two states are now united.
Howard says, "It’s not the river that separates these cities. It’s not the river that separates the states. It’s a line in the river and we are going to erase another piece of it." The 200-foot-long S-shaped bridge over the Missouri River was a 22-million dollar private-public project.
Omaha Mayor Mike Fahey says he’s very pleased with the project, which took many years of planning. "Great things come to those who wait but I for one am more than happy that the wait is over," Fahey says. Over 2,000 people gathered at Playland Park in Council Bluffs for the event where a wristband system was used to select the first person to cross the bridge.
It turned out to be an 11-year old boy from Bellevue, Nebraska. Among the others who were first across the bridge, Pat Timperly is confined to a wheelchair and says she’s very pleased the project is finished.
Timperly says, "Well, I like it because too often you have trouble getting across the bridge getting back to Omaha so we have to do the interstate bridge. Ain’t gotta’ do it no more! I’ve been waiting for this to open!"