A recent determination that the swinging bridge over South Table Creek in Steinahrt Park is not historic has cleared the way for work to begin on the pedestrian trail through Steinhart Park to Steamwagon Road near Arbor Lodge State Park.
Jill Dolberg, review and compliance coordinator with the Nebraska State Historical Society, said this particular bowstring arch bridge is a Nebraska rarity, but not qualified for historic preservation.
When the bridge was moved to Steinhart Park it was narrowed and its supports were modified.
“It has been changed so much, it’s not even structurally sound. It has been basically sliced in half,” she said.
Nebraska City announced a $500,000 grant in 2008 to extend the eight-foot concrete pedestrian trail about a mile, but the project was delayed when the bridge was a declared historic in 2011.
Dolberg said the bowstring arch makes a beautiful bridge, but it is a rare construction type because it is difficult to build.
She said the bridge at Steinhart Park was modified when moved to the park is no longer safe for pedestrians.
“It served that purpose for awhile, but, time has taken its toll on the strucuture. I think it is past that part of its lifetime,” she said.
The existing half-mile trail starts at the street department offices on Fourth Corso, travels around the pond at Steinhart Park and ends on the south side of the creek.
The next mile-long phase will cross the creek and park, go north on the high school's side of Steinhart Park Road and cross Arbor Avenue west of the high school.
The trail will continue on Arbor Avenue around the state park to Steamwagon Road. Driveway entrances to the high school and parking lots will be reconstructed.
The project is expected to cost $699,000 and construction will begin in fall of 2013 or spring of 2014.