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South Omaha Veterans Memorial Bridge facts for kids

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South Omaha Bridge
The old, now-demolished bridge
South Omaha Veterans Memorial Bridge is located in Iowa
South Omaha Veterans Memorial Bridge
Location in Iowa
South Omaha Veterans Memorial Bridge is located in the United States
South Omaha Veterans Memorial Bridge
Location in the United States
Location US 275, Council Bluffs, Iowa / Omaha, Nebraska
Built 1935
Architect Ash, Howard, Needles, & Tammen; Kansas City Bridge Co.
MPS Highway Bridges in Nebraska MPS
NRHP reference No. 92000742
Quick facts for kids
Significant dates
Added to NRHP June 29, 1992
Removed from NRHP July 14, 2011

The South Omaha Veterans Memorial Bridge (originally the South Omaha Bridge but renamed the Veterans Memorial Bridge in 1995) was a continuous warren through truss bridge over the Missouri River connecting Omaha, Nebraska with Council Bluffs, Iowa via U.S. Highway 275.

New South Omaha Veterans Memorial Bridge
The new South Omaha Veterans Memorial Bridge from south on Nebraska side.

Omaha floated a $2 million bond issue for the bridge in 1931. However, when the bonds did not sell, the Omaha Bridge Commission was formed to secure financing from the Public Works Administration. The initial design by the Kansas City architects Ash, Howard, Needles and Tammen called for the bridge to have seven spans. However, when the War Department announced plans to reroute the river channel, the design was changed to two 525-foot (160 m), continuously supported, Warren through spans and a series of Warren deck truss approach spans.

It was built by the Kansas City Bridge Company opening on January 18, 1936. It is 22.2 feet (6.8 m) wide and 2,126 feet (648 m) long. The piers were initially on dry land, since the river had not been rerouted. Tolls on the bridge were discontinued on September 25, 1947.

South Omaha Bridge
The original bridge's demolition in progress

The bridge provided a much-needed direct route across the Missouri River to the Omaha Stockyards for livestock delivery trucks. Before the South Omaha Bridge was built trucks had to cross the Douglas Street Bridge and drive through downtown Omaha to reach the packinghouse district. Although listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1992, the bridge was torn down so a new four-lane girder bridge could be constructed with a target opening date in 2010. The old bridge was 4,378 feet (1,334 m) long and provided a clear roadway width of only 22 feet 6 inches (6.86 m). In November 2006 Nebraska placed a 5-ton vehicle limit on the bridge. On June 11, 2008, an additional height restriction requiring vehicles to be under 8 feet (2.4 m) was imposed. On September 8, 2009, at 9 am CDT, the bridge closed so that the new bridge's construction could continue. The original bridge was completely demolished by March 2010 and removed from the NRHP in 2011.

The new bridge opened May 28, 2010. It provides for four 12-foot-wide thru lanes (3.7 m) and a 4-foot-wide raised median (1.2 m) with 10-foot-wide shoulders (3.0 m) and a 10-foot-wide bike trail (3.0 m). The new bridge is 4,300 feet (1,300 m) long and 87 feet 8 inches (26.72 m) wide.

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