Foundation work is underway for a pedestrian overpass to connect the Monument Valley Pathway across Highway 26 north of Scottsbluff High School.
Scottsbluff public works director Mark Bohl said the project is “like a big jigsaw puzzle” as pieces of mechanically stabilized earth are lifted and put in place to build a retaining wall of sorts to support the ramp and structure to hold the overpass itself.
Doug Gompert of M.C. Schaff and Associates is coordinating the work, and he said those involved have worked well together so far.
“Everybody’s done a really good job, between the contractors, the engineers and the city,” Gompert said.
Gompert said he expects the wall on the south side of the highway to be completed by the end of this week with the north side wall going up next. The bridge itself is likely to be put in place sometime around April or May, Gompert said.
Bohl said contractor Paul Reed Company and subcontractors have stayed ahead on the project, thanks in part to a mild winter that has allowed them to keep working.
“This is a big project,” Bohl said. “Our main focus now, actually, is this structure itself. We have a few odds and ends to tie in at West Overland, Avenue D and B to make connections, but basically the whole path is in, so all the concentration now is really on the structure itself, getting the walls up and getting the structure in place.”
Once the walls and path are up, there is still plenty to be coordinated.
“You can drive by and say, ‘Wow, there’s a wall,’ but there’s still lighting that has to go in, guard rail that has to go in, a structure that has to go up,” Bohl said. “There’s a lot of coordination. Kudos to these guys, M.C. Schaff and the contractors, but we’re moving right along.”
When the time comes to set the overpass structure, the contractors have a permit to close the highway for an evening to get the main structure set. The largest portion of the overpass will span the highway, but another section will cross over a ditch to connect near the 23 Club Baseball Complex.
According to the work contract, the pathway is to be completed by mid-July.
“Weather has been super this year,” Bohl said. “We’ve been able to work right through, and we’re headed to spring now, which is great. I think we should be right on track to make that schedule.”
Bohl said he believes the overpass is a tremendous project for the city.
“I think this is going to be a great addition for the city,” he said. “I think once we have the bridge in place, and we’re actually all done — there will be some plantings and lights and all these things to it — but I think once this thing actually opens where you can walk and actually cross, this is going to be a huge asset to the city. It’s going to be a really nice structure. You see these in the big cities. You see them on interstates, and we’re actually going to have that in Scottsbluff.”