Commuters between Council Bluffs and Omaha are forced to find new routes today (Wednesday), as the Veterans Memorial Bridge was forever sealed off by barricades on Tuesday. The narrow two-lane bridge will be torn down and replaced by a four-lane span. Kathy Nugent grew up in the area and spent part of her childhood watching the traffic headed for the old stockyards in south Omaha.

Nugent says, “We used to watch the stock trucks come over filled with cattle and pigs and we tried to watch what was inside the trucks.” Nugent now lives in Chicago but came back to southwestern Iowa to say goodbye to the Missouri River bridge.

“It’s kind of a sad day, a melancholy day,” she says. “I’m disappointed they’re not saving it to at least have as a bike bridge or a foot bridge or something.” Nugent made it a point to make several trips across the bridge Tuesday before it was shut down to traffic. She knew that in order to get back to her summer home at Lake Manawa, Iowa, she would have to take the Interstate 80 bridge.

“That bridge is just one of a million across America,” she says. “This bridge had character. It its own way, it’s a beautiful bridge so I hate to see it go down.” The new bridge is expected to be open by next summer.

Story by Karla James