January 25, 2017
This spring the City of Norfolk will begin one of its largest road projects ever. A project to replace the bridge on Norfolk Avenue just east of First Street will begin in March 2017.
The original two lane bridge, built in 1933 and widened to four lanes in 1970, is at the end of its service life. It is one of the busier roadways in Norfolk with about 9,000 vehicles crossing it each day. The total cost of the project will be about $5.7 million which includes a new trail under the bridge, a new waterline crossing the river and a new roadway section from First Street to Cottonwood Street. The new roadway section will have five lanes with landscaping, decorative lighting, and roadway lighting to tie in with the downtown business district.
Trees have already been removed from the banks of the North Fork of the Elkhorn River on the south side of the bridge. Beginning in early March the north lane of Norfolk Avenue will be closed to put in a new water main. It is expected that by the end of March the bridge will be completely closed to begin demolition. Norfolk Avenue between First Street and the bridge will remain open until early July when street improvements west of the bridge will begin. Dixon Construction of Correctionville, Iowa, is the contractor for the project and is hoping to have it completed by the end of September 2017.
“We could have had the project bid so that one lane would remain open to traffic at all times but that would have increased the length of time of construction by almost a year, caused additional safety concerns and added to the cost. After much discussion with stakeholders, city council members said to shut the bridge down and get it replaced in the least amount of time as possible,” said Shane Weidner, City of Norfolk Administrator.
There are incentives available to the contractor if the project is done early and potential late fees the contractor will need to pay if the work extends over the deadline.
“The contractor is going to do their best to get it done early but we can’t control the weather. A rainy summer may back the project up a bit. We’re hopeful that traffic through East Norfolk Avenue will be back to normal by the first of October. In the meantime we encourage people to remember to patronize the businesses on the east side of the bridge. Norfolk Avenue from the bridge on east will be open for business for the duration of the project,” Weidner said.
Benjamin Avenue or Omaha Avenue will be used as detours during the duration of the project. These detours can be used to access local businesses on Norfolk Avenue on either side of the bridge via First Street or Victory Road. Those who usually come into Norfolk from the east and want to access Norfolk Avenue on the west side of the bridge will need to detour to Benjamin Avenue or to Omaha Avenue to First Street then to Norfolk Avenue.
Access to Cottonwood Street from Norfolk Avenue will not be available during the duration of the project. Parking will also not be allowed on Pine Street from Norfolk Avenue to Nebraska Avenue or on Nebraska Avenue from First Street to Pine Street until the project is completed. The intersection of Norfolk Avenue and First Street will remain open, although lane shifts and lane closures may affect traffic at times throughout the construction project.
If there are any questions or concerns, please contact John Heine, City Engineer, at (402)844-2020.