Papio NRD expanding trail; Valley to get new pedestrian overpass

Published: Oct. 29, 2021 at 5:21 PM CDT
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VALLEY, Neb. (WOWT) - A decades-old project to unite the city of Valley is now underway as the Papio Natural Resources District starts to build a new pedestrian overpass.

For those entering Valley on old Highway 275, it’s hard to miss - a giant mound of dirt angling out of a farm field.

That’s the base for the new overpass the NRD is constructing. Eric Williams is the Natural Resources Planner.

The anxiously-awaited project was earmarked by then-Congressman Lee Terry in 2004 but there were several hoops to jump through before the work could begin.

“There were some challenges in the way that the environmental regulation was adjusted in about 2009 until 2013 but the NRD has been working with community partners through that entire period,” Williams said. “We’ve had great support both from the school and the YMCA and members of the community here in Valley and so we’ve continued to focus on getting the design accomplished, getting all the permits necessary, and now moving into construction.”

The 450-foot-long bridge will be built in two sections with the main support in the middle between the highway and the train tracks.

While the bridge will connect the city and schools with the YMCA on the city’s southeast side, it also eliminates the need for kids to cross at a dangerous railroad crossing in downtown as well as the old highway.

“So, it should be an improvement in safety for kids in the area who want to make it from the schools here over to the east and the YMCA,” Williams said. “Currently, there’s no way to make it between the two because of the highway and the railroad.”

Williams tells 6 News that the bottom of the bridge will point right towards the school, giving kids quick and easy access.

But since there is a road they will need to cross, other safety measures will be added to the area.

“There will be signals for drivers on the road to let them know that there will be pedestrians crossing at this location and then there will be signs for the pedestrians to say hey, keep aware this is not a full stop by cars driving down the road, so pedestrians need to be aware and drivers need to be aware so that everybody could be safe,” Williams said.

The project also called for expanding the trail system about a mile to Mallard Landing, right in front of the new Elementary school.

“With that school moving over to Center Street there wasn’t sidewalks there anyway because we just didn’t have anything over there so just having a sidewalk over by the school is going to increase safety as well,” Valley Mayor Cindy Grove said.

And good news for Valley taxpayers - the $6 million price tag is entirely federally funded.

“It’s an NRD project, so they’ve been partnering with us,” said Mayor Grove. “But it’s their project and we’re just fortunate to reap the benefits of it.”

The new overpass will provide increased accessibility and safety while bringing the community a little closer together.

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