The Sarpy Wastewater Agency has informed the Papio NRD that the MoPAC Trail in/near Springfield will be closed until the end of the year. The trail will be closed from Capehart Road south to Fairview Road until December 31, 2022, due to the agency’s installation of a sanitary sewer line.
The closure will result in no access to/from the trail between these major street crossings. Anyone who would like to use the section of the trail from Capehart to the north (off the top of the map), or from Fairview to the south (off the bottom of the map) will be able to do so.
The entire length of the MoPac Trail along Hwy 31 stretching to and across the Lied Bridge is open for use.
Repairs to damage caused by historic flood of 2019 complete
Recreation enthusiasts showed up in droves along the Platte River Saturday, July 3, to celebrate the official grand re-opening of the Lied Platte River Bridge and MoPac Trail, which were damaged by the flood of 2019. The Lied Platte River Bridge is the only crossing along the Platte River that connects Lincoln and Omaha by the MoPac Trail.
“It’s incredible to bring together people riding bicycles, other trail users, community leaders and groups, as well as partner agencies who helped us complete extensive repairs to the Lied Bridge following the flood of 2019,” said John Winkler, general manager of the Papio NRD. “Flood damage devasted this popular pedestrian crossing and lack of access to it was certainly felt. We’re thrilled to see it back in action so quickly,” said Winkler.
For the past two years, the Papio NRD has worked closely with the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission and Lower Platte South NRD on four flood-related repair projects on the Lied Bridge and MoPac Trail.
Eric Williams, natural resources planner for the Papio NRD said the projects totaled over $525,000, a majority of which will be reimbursed by FEMA as part of disaster recovery assistance.
The projects included: removal of large debris from the bridge, removal and replacement of damaged parts of the fence and railing, repair and replacement of the ice breaker structures under the bridge, and reconstruction of the trail connecting link from Highway 31 to the east end of the bridge.
“It’s been a two-year project collaborating with the Papio-Missouri River NRD and the Lower Platte South NRD and we are super excited to be reopening the Lied Bridge and MoPac Trail after the devastating flood of 2019,” said Adam Johns, park superintendent III at Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. “It’s great that visitors can once again enjoy the wonderful views of the Platte River that this bridge and trail have to offer,” said Johns.
“Sometimes we don’t know what we have ‘til it’s gone,” said Lower Platte South NRD Board Chair Deborah Eagan. “Losing access to the Lied Bridge brought tremendous interest from trail users who were anxious to see it repaired and reopened. Fortunately, the damage was able to be fixed in an effective and efficient manner. We are excited to have this important local and national link to our trail systems restored. Thanks to all who coordinated, cooperated and communicated to see this project finalized,” said Eagan.
The Lied Platte River Bridge, a former railroad bridge, was converted to bicycle and pedestrian access in 2001. The bridge and connecting trails are critical components of the Great American Rail-Trail through Nebraska. The Great American Rail-Trail is a project of Rails-to-Trails Conservancy to create the nation’s first cross-country, multi-use trail, spanning from Washington, DC to Washington state.
“We cannot overstate the importance of having the Lied Bridge back open for bicycling,” said Julie Harris, executive director of Bike Walk Nebraska. “Not only is it a key connection for people riding locally between Omaha and Lincoln, the bridge also provides a regional connection to 120 miles of trail on the west and over 100 miles on the east, creating enormous potential for bicycle tourism in eastern Nebraska,” said Harris.
Due to the extraordinary high water during the flood in March, the protective railing on the Lied Bridge over the Platte River has been damaged and the bridge is closed to all users. The Papio-Missouri River NRD is working with the Lower Platte South NRD, and the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission to determine the extent of the damage, and to have repair design and construction moving forward as soon as possible.
Sections of the MoPac Trail under Hwy 50, and from the trailhead parking lot at the west end of Hwy 31 down to the Lied Bridge were also damaged. Signs will be placed to alert users of trail closure. Do not use, or access any section of trail that seems damaged, as the conditions are currently unknown.
Contact the Papio NRD office at (402) 444-6222 if you have any questions about the status of the MoPac Trail or Lied Bridge.