Countless trains have crossed the aging railroad bridge that will be replaced before long in Norfolk.
“We thought it was time,’’ said Robert Bach, president of Rio Grande Pacific, parent company of Nebraska Central Railroad.
The Third Street bridge over the north fork of the Elkhorn River was constructed in 1889 and has been in reliable service since.
Work has started on a new bridge along an alignment about 20 feet to the north. Once that’s up and running plans are to scrap the old bridge.
The replacement will have six steel spans and measure 211 feet long.
The spans purchased from another railroad are up to to five years old.
The bridge is at milepost 51.2, the distance to Columbus of the branch owned by Union Pacific. It serves steel and ethanol industries northeast of Norfolk.
“This new bridge is a testament to our commitment to Norfolk and belief in the future of the community,’’ Bach said. “The bridge upgrade will allow Nebraska Central to provide its Norfolk customers with continued efficient and productive transportation service.’’
The old bridge is part of the former Chicago & North Western Railroad branch purchased by Union Pacific.
Once the new span is ready, the railroad plans an opening ceremony.
The bridge contractor is K&R Builders of Oklahoma City. The dirt contractor is K. Porter Construction of Norfolk.
Bach put the cost of the project, which will take about a month, in the neighborhood of $2 million.