Portion of Omaha’s Flanagan Lake Trail to close for one year

The project was long on the calendar for Omaha’s master plan
A part of the Flanagan Lake Trail will close for an entire year.
Published: Aug. 31, 2023 at 11:11 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - The trails around Flanagan Lake are normally pretty crowded, even on a weeknight in the early evening hours.

On this particular Thursday night, the crickets could be heard loudly, since there was a Nebraska football game likely keeping folks away.

But of those who did speak to 6 News, none knew that the west side of the south lake loop will be closed starting the day after Labor Day, and will remain closed for at least one year.

But the City of Omaha’s assistant director for public works Jim Theilen said this project is part of the city’s master plan to provide sewage infrastructure to expanding areas for future development.

Caleb Van Weelden is the project manager for Lamp Rynearson and explained the plan will extend the existing sewer interceptor north of essentially the current development on the west side, all the way under Ida Street to the north.

It means that cyclists, runners, and walkers, won’t be able to complete the loop around the southern half of the lake, but will be able to travel under the bridge as usual and complete the north loop.

He called the sewer interceptor the “trunk line” connecting individual sewers from houses and neighborhoods, serving as a backbone system for future development.

An outline of little orange flags is the only indication some digging is coming, but starting the day after Labor Day, it will be evident.

And since there are no other entry points to the west section of the trail that might allow for incremental closures, the section will remain closed until the project is complete, which Van Weelden does not expect to happen until Labor Day 2024 at the earliest.

While it may be a surprise to those who use the trail, Omaha Parks and Recreation director Matt Kalcevich said they have known and prepared for the project and closure for some time, and that it will not cause cancellation of any future events at Flanagan Lake.

Van Weelden added that in order to anchor future developments in the city’s master plan, the process will eventually continue up the sewer basin on the north side in the future as well.