Work officially began yesterday on repairing the Old Mill Bridge in Neligh that was severely damaged in the 2010 Elkhorn River flood.
On Tuesday, workers began diverting the river flow in preparation of installing culverts. Theisen Construction is building the 96-foot jump span connecting the road to the Old Mill Bridge.
The original 140-foot bridge was built in 1910 by Western Bridge and was the first bridge over the Elkhorn River west of Norfolk, according to the Nebraska State Historical Society.
Neligh City Clerk Dana Klabenes said the bridge repair will be completed yet this fall, allowing residents to access the south side of the river. Not having the bridge became a safety hazard, according to officials, as slow moving vehicles going to the tree dump were forced to take the highway.
“I’m so glad this repair is happening,” said Neligh Mayor Jeri Anderson. “When we lost the FEMA funding, I wasn’t sure if we’d ever get the bridge fixed. I knew there was no way my bake sales would fund it.”
The bridge repair is being funded through a $650,000 grant that was made by a foundation that wishes to remain anonymous, along with donations by private citizens.
“A big thank you goes out to the residents for their patience with this project and for believing in us,” Anderson said. “I really hope everyone thanks this anonymous donor and everyone who gave donations. Without them, this wouldn't be possible.”
The City of Neligh plans to send thank yous to the donor via the foundations’ attorney and has asked that residents contribute thank you notes as well. The notes can be dropped off at the City of Neligh offices on Main Street.