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Bridge Project Moving Forward

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Dirt Work For Highway 34 Project Was Slowed By Flooding

By Joe Foreman, Editor

Funds continue to be allocated and work is resuming on the U.S. Highway 34 - Missouri River bridge project in western Iowa.  The bridge will link Mills County with Sarpy County, Neb., south of Offutt Air Force Base.

    Groundbreaking for the $140 million project took place in September 2010 with a projected completion date set for the fall 2013. However, preliminary roadwork in Mills County, west of the Interstate 29 - Highway 34 interchange, came to a halt last summer when flooding began occurring along the Missouri River. The dirt work resumed late in the fall. On the Nebraska side of the river, the flooding has had minimal impact on the project.
    Glenwood banker Larry Winum, a longtime proponent of the bridge project, said he’s communicated with transportation officials from both states and he’s optimistic the project could be completed on schedule. Winum said mild conditions in the fall and so far this winter has allowed work to get done on both the Iowa and Nebraska sides of the river.
    “At this point, I think they’re still hopeful about obtaining their goal,” Winum said. “Depending on the weather conditions, they’re aiming for late 2013 or sometime into ‘14.”
    Winum noted the allocation of funds and a construction schedule for the project was included in the Iowa Department of Transportation’s five-year plan released in December.
    If weather conditions allow, the dirt work in Mills County could carry on throughout the winter months. Construction of the bridge is scheduled to begin this spring, with Des Moines-based Jensen Construction Co. serving as the contractor for the project. Jensen is currently overseeing the Interstate 80 bridge project between Omaha and Council Bluffs.