Omaha’s 42nd Street bridge project nearing completion

The 42nd Street bridge in Omaha has been closed for nearly a year. Now, it's complete.
Published: Sep. 27, 2023 at 4:19 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - In October 2022, the orange barrels came out and shut off the flow of traffic to the 42nd Street bridge just south of Interstate 80 in Omaha.

This gave work crews plenty of room to totally reconstruct the more than 60-year-old structure.

The worn-out bridge has been replaced. It’s all brand new, from bottom to top.

City officials shut down all lanes of the bridge to get the work done.

City officials told 6 News the complete closure of the bridge during construction saved them time and money.

“This project came in at about $14 million, significant savings over what it would have cost to do it the other way,” said Steve Rue, the Construction and Street Maintenance Engineer for the City of Omaha. We would have had to build two bridges essentially to do a partial closure.”

The complete shutdown during construction saved millions of taxpayer dollars and also allowed Omaha work crews to get a jump start on another project in the area.

“Since we already had the full closure, we chose to have them come in and do some partial panel repair, which was a scheduled repair for next year,” Rue said. “The street was already closed, so it made sense to bring them in right now and do this work no so it won’t be impacted next year.”

All of that is good news for Joe Eckley. His family-owned business, Eckley Auto Brokers, has been in the neighborhood for decades and the bridge’s reopening can’t come soon enough.

Nearby businesses are elated with the reopening of Omaha's 42nd Street bridge, which has been closed since last October.

“I don’t know where we heard this number, but we heard at one time there were 45,000 cars that passed by a day,” Eckley said. “Now we’re down to about 10.”

Right now, 42nd Street around the bridge still has more barrels and cones than traffic, but city officials tell 6 News all of it will be cleaned up and traffic should fully open in December.

Next on the docket for the City of Omaha is the 72nd Street bridge near D Street. That project will begin next year. Unlike the 42nd Street bridge, crews will repair 72nd’s overpass one lane at a time to keep the traffic moving.

City officials said every project is planned individually and the decision to close roads depends on each area’s traffic and available detour routes, as well as the amount of time and money that can be saved.