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The Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge—named for the former Nebraska senator who helped secure much of its funding—opened in September 2008 as the first dedicated pedestrian bridge to connect two states. Omaha, Nebraska, and Council Bluffs, Iowa, made sure they entered the record books in a big way; the s-curved bridge, supported by two oversized pylons and a spider web of cables, is a stunning architectural icon for the region.
At 3,000 feet long, the bridge gives you plenty of time to view the Council Bluffs and Omaha skylines, while its 15-foot width ensures those admiring the view won't get in the way of runners and cyclists using the bridge for exercise or commuting. The bridge rests only about 60 feet above the Missouri River (as the banks on both sides are just above the water line), so all but the most acrophobic travelers should have no trouble using it.
On the Iowa side of the river, the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge connects directly to the Iowa Riverfront Trail, which runs along the western side of Council Bluffs for nearly 7 miles. The bridge's approach in Council Bluffs is located in the River's Edge Park development, which contains an amphitheater, large irrigated lawn, riverside trails and a parking lot.
In Nebraska, the bridge lands in Omaha Plaza, a 3-acre park containing a play area, water spray fountain, National Park Service Visitors Center and bench seating. The plaza is just north of Lewis and Clark Landing, which includes a couple of monuments and beautiful views of the Missouri River. At either location, you can pick up the Omaha Riverfront Trail. Once a short portion between the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge and Locust Street is completed, trail users will be able to travel nearly 20 miles north to Boyer Chute National Wildlife Refuge on a single off-road trail.
The bridge also leads to Gallup, Inc.'s operational headquarters in Omaha. Gallup, along with the Suzanne and Walter Scott Foundation, donated the LED lights that top the bridge's pylons in 2008, although they were replaced in 2012. The lights perform a colorful dancing display at night, and the bridge is open 24 hours to allow trail users to admire the show up close. The entire bridge is well-lit, and police call buttons dot the bridge's length for added safety.
In Omaha, parking for the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge can be found at the National Park Service Visitors Center on Riverfront Drive. Additional parking is located just to the south of the facility at Lewis and Clark Landing. In Council Bluffs, a newer parking lot at the foot of the bridge in River's Edge Park is available, or park at any of the Iowa Riverfront Trail's dedicated parking lots and take the trail north or south until you reach the bridge.
The wife and I thoroughly enjoyed our trip bicycling from the Nebraska side to Iowa and eventually back over on this awesome suspension bridge in October. Plenty of photo ops, pedestrians, and joggers!
Bicyclists: Plan on riding Omaha's Riverfront Trail and Iowa's Riverfront Trail on either side of the bridge to make a day of it! Council Bluff's Tom Hanafan River's Edge Park is especially cool with its large grassy areas, trees, and sculptures!
I arrived mid morning of 17 Jun 13 and parked in ample parking spaces under I-480 to keep Van Cool. Great grade to bridge on both sides. Active with walkers and cyclist. Many stopping at State Border. On Omaha end, trail will take one to the Visitor Center and past Sculptures with Flood Level Markers as it continues to the I-480. Worth the Trip.
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