A direct link between downtown Omaha and the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge is inching closer to reality.
Tuesday, the Omaha City Council voted 6-1 to spend $101,000 on initial engineering work for a bridge that would be built over Riverfront Drive and the railroad tracks on the west side of the Bob Kerrey Bridge. The city will use federal funds for the rest of the approximately $500,000 engineering project.
Councilman Chris Jerram said the preliminary work will include gathering input from residents, drawing up design plans and completing environmental studies. That process, he said, should help officials get a better handle on how much the “Baby Bob” bridge would cost. Early estimates put the total at $3.8 million.
Jerram said it’s likely the project will require help from private donors.
Julie Harris, the active living manager for Live Well Omaha, urged the council to support the project. She said an additional ink for pedestrians and cyclists will encourage people to be active.
“It provides a great connection to the bridge, to the downtown area and becomes and extension to something that’s really become the iconic image of our community,” she said.
Councilman Franklin Thompson provided the lone no vote.
Meanwhile, the council voted to spend $129,000 on engineering work for two new connections on the Riverfront Trail.
The first segment would connect the end of the trail at Miller’s Landing on Freedom Park Road to Kiwanis Park on East Locust Street. The second section would connect the Riverfront Trail on the north side of Carter Lake to the end of the Locust Street Trail in Carter Lake, Iowa.