Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge Linking Omaha and Council Bluffs Opens

Today was an historic occasion for both Omaha, Nebraska and Council Bluffs, Iowa. The Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge spans 3000 feet across the Missouri River carrying foot and bicycle traffic. This bridge is the only pedestrian bridge in the country linking two states. The bridge appears to be a focal point for current and planned riverfront development on both sides of the river.

I went down to the bridge this afternoon by bicycle. Since I was coming from the Omaha side, I wasn't able to participate in the opening ceremony, as that took place on the Council Bluffs side. I arrived around 2pm and found there were still many people on and around the bridge, making their way across to both sides.

The sky seemed a little hazy to me, but the sunshine, light wind, and warm temperatures were ideal for the bridge opening.

I had read in the news that the Omaha side would not be open until around 3pm to accommodate the large volume of people coming from the Council Bluffs side. However, before leaving, I checked the Pedestrian Bridge Web Cam and saw that it was open.

I brought my camera and took some photos to share here on the Redd-Shift blog. At first I was afraid I would be instructed by security to dismount my bike, but that didn't happen. I did stay in the saddle on the way over, but I had to ride as slow as people were walking, often putting my foot down when things went really slow.

On the Council Bluffs side the party was still going on. There were food vendors, games and activities for the kids, and live music.

I had never before seen or set foot on an Iowa trail, and I was pleased to see a large sign in Playland Park showing me which way to go for the various trails and attractions. I truly felt welcomed into Iowa. I can't wait to head over there early some day and explore the trails.

I think the Omaha side should have some signs or markings showing how to get to the Qwest Center and the Old Market. Honestly, the Omaha side of the bridge is a little confusing if you don't know for sure where to go.

Party on the Council Bluffs side at Playland Park

Rock climbing wall

A Dixieland Jazz band

What to do when you cross over to Iowa.
So many trails to explore, so little time.

A TV news crew interviewing bridge crossers.

Iowa's future riverfront development plans

This looks like a fun trail heading to the north

The entrance to the bridge on the Council Bluffs side.
Notice the gate to keep out the Omaha riff-raff.

The Omaha skyline through the trees and over the river

Each cable is secured using these giant bolts and nuts

The little biting flies were annoying

Another TV news crew looking for a story.

The Ron Paul guy welcoming people to Nebraska

A view of the river to the north

This guy apparently lost his belt in Iowa

The emergency call boxes are a good idea.
Too bad they don't work yet.

Another view of the tower

I think there is to be some sort of welcome center here.
The Omaha Riverfront Place condos are in the background.

The entrance to the bridge from the Omaha side.
Notice the gate to keep out the riff-raff from Council Bluffs.

Smile... you're on the Pedestrian Bridge Web Cam.

A Jetski parasailer passes under the bridge


pcakes said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
pcakes said...

Can't wait to use the bridge. Thx for posting the pics!

Scott Redd said...

I walked out there again today over lunch, and dozens of other people had the same idea. It's still quite an attraction, but you'll probably have no problem getting across on your bike at this time.

The workers were spreading some very rich smelling organic stuff over the ground and others were tuning the water fountain jets.

Work continues, but you'll be amazed at the construction and the sheer wonder of it all.

Ed Talone said...

Wonderful bridge- This is not the only ped/bike bridge between 2 states:

Some examples

Chain of Rocks Bridge - MO/IL

St Croix River - Gandy Dancer Trail - MN/WI

Portland Bridge - PA/NJ

East Channel Bridge - Winona, MN - WI/MN

Scott Redd said...

Thanks for the comment, Ed. I appreciate the fact correction.

I recall a speaker from the bridge construction company saying that they searched for some sort of "this is the only bridge ..." quote.

Maybe it was something as focused like "the longest pedestrian bridge crossing a river between two states" or something like that.