Hastings Viaduct: An expensive problem

At the November 25 meeting the Hastings City Council voted to declare the Osborne Drive Viaduct a public safety matter. (SOURCE: KSNB)
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HASTINGS, Neb., (KSNB) The Hastings city council Monday voted to declare the Osborne Drive viaduct a public safety matter, which would clear the way to consider repair or demolition options.

The viaduct connected Osborne Drive East to West 16th street over the railroad tracks until the city closed it in May. Engineers advised the city to close the viaduct because of safety issues related to a deteriorating structure.

Last summer the city had made preliminary estimates about what to do with the bridge:

--Temporary repairs to give the bridge another 2-3 years of life for $150,000.
--Extensive repairs to make the bridge last another 30 years for $2 million
--Building a new bridge for $6 million.

But now, it appears that the bridge will be much more expensive. "Cost escalations in the new estimates are due to the demand for bridgework due to the spring floods throughout the rest of the state," said Hastings Mayor Corey Stutte.

Stutte also told Local4, "In addition, time to do any work due to contractor availability could be up to two years, but that is just an estimate we were given."

The new estimates which the city council may consider at it's December 9th meeting are:

--Bridge removal for $1.4 million
--Extensive repair for $3.1 million
--Build a new bridge at the existing site for $12.4 million
--Build a new bridge connecting Osborne Drive East to Eastside Boulevard for $13 million.

Stutte also told Local4 that money from the Hastings city 1/2 cent sales tax can't be used because of the way ballot language was written when citizens approved it. That means that the cost of viaduct repairs would have to come from city property tax revenue.

Stutte also said the city is already committed to the 42nd street paving project and upgrades to Highway Six West and East. The combined cost of those three projects will be around $10 million.

At it's November 25 meeting the city council will vote on a resolution declaring the existing viaduct a public safety matter due to its deterioration. If the council approves that resolution, they will consider the various options at the December 9 meeting.