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Office of Governor Pete Ricketts

Gov. Ricketts, Dept. of Transportation, and Niobrara Community Celebrate Opening of Mormon Canal Bridge

Media Contacts:  

Taylor Gage, 402-471-1970

Justin Pinkerman, 402-471-1967

 

Media Release:

Gov. Ricketts, Dept. of Transportation, and Niobrara Community Celebrate Opening of Mormon Canal Bridge

 

Gov. Ricketts (podium), NDOT Director Kyle Schneweis (left) and Niobrara Village Board Member Jody Stark (right)  at the ceremony to celebrate the opening of the permanent bridge over the Mormon Canal.

Gov. Ricketts (podium), NDOT Director Kyle Schneweis (left) and Niobrara Village Board Member Jody Stark (right)

at the ceremony to celebrate the opening of the permanent bridge over the Mormon Canal.

 

Video from today’s celebration is available by clicking here.

 

NIOBRARA – Today, Governor Pete Ricketts, the Nebraska Department of Transportation (NDOT), and Niobrara-area community members gathered to celebrate the opening of the Mormon Canal Bridge at Niobrara.  Through the collaborative efforts of NDOT and its partners, the permanent bridge is opening two months ahead of schedule. 

 

“The opening of the Mormon Canal Bridge showcases the resilience and grit of Nebraskans that has helped our state recover from historic flooding in 2019,” said Gov. Ricketts.  “It took commitment, innovation, and teamwork to rebuild the bridge quickly and to get our Nebraska communities on the road again.”

 

The opening of the bridge marks a major milestone since the March 2019 flood event caused significant damage to the approach and girders of the bridge over the Niobrara and completely washed out the bridge over the Mormon Canal.  The temporary and permanent reconstruction of Highway 12 is one of the most complex flood recovery projects in the state.

 

“The community is thankful for the partnerships that made it possible to open both the temporary and the permanent bridge ahead of schedule,” said Jody Stark, Niobrara Village Board Member.  “Every time we talked, you could tell NDOT and Hawkins were motivated by the community and actively working to get this bridge open for the people.  It was inspiring.”

 

“Teamwork is the theme of the day,” said Chris Hawkins, Chief Operating Officer of Hawkins Construction Company.  “The trust between NDOT, Hawkins, and our subcontractors allowed us to stay focused, united, and safe throughout the build process.”

 

“Today is an emotional day,” said NDOT Director Kyle Schneweis.  “We often talk about the importance of partnerships, but opening this bridge two months early is a result of a strong integration of the entire build team and the motivation they felt from the community.  Our team, Hawkins, and Benesch wanted to deliver for Nebraska and on an unprecedented project they challenged themselves every day.  This partnership, and the support of Joe Werning and the Nebraska Division of the Federal Highway Administration, made it all possible.”     

 

On March 13, 2019, the bridge over the Mormon Canal was completely washed out by the historic floods.  Less than five months later, on the evening of August 9, 2019, a temporary bridge over the Mormon Canal was opened to traffic.

 

With the operational temporary bridge and repairs made to the main bridge, NDOT was able to reestablish mobility on Highway 12 over the Niobrara six days ahead of schedule.  For the last year, the single lane temporary bridge and the bridge over the Niobrara were open to one-lane traffic controlled by a traffic signal.

 

NDOT worked closely with Alfred Benesch & Company to expedite the design of the reconstruction.  Hawkins Construction served as the lead contractor on the project.  The awarded contract was for $44,170,911, which covers the Mormon Canal temporary bridge, repairs to the bridge over the Niobrara and roadway, as well as a permanent bridge over the canal.  

 

Several other subcontractors also played a role including:

  • United Contractors, Inc., of Johnston, Iowa, temporary bridge installation
  • Ames Construction, Inc., of Burnsville, Minnesota, grading contractor
  • Contractor Services, Inc., of North Platte, Nebraska, traffic control
  • D-K Contracting Corporation, of Beatrice, Nebraska, concrete pavement patching
  • Gross Seed Company, of Johnstown, Nebraska, erosion control and seeding
  • Iron Works, Inc. of Nebraska City, Nebraska, reinforcing steel installation
  • JMN Construction, LLC, of Valley, Nebraska, bridge repair
  • Longfellow Foundations, Inc., of Hutchinson, Kansas, installation of shaft foundations
  • Midwest Fence Company – Guardrail Systems, of Ralston, Nebraska, guardrail

 

With the opening of the Highway 12 Bridge, the Highway 281 Bridge at Spencer remains as the only bridge to be completed on the State highway system following the 2019 spring floods.  

 

Watch video of today’s celebration by clicking here