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The MoPac Trail in Springfield is an integral component of what is planned to be a more than 50-mile recreational trail between Omaha and Lincoln, Nebraska's two largest cities. Four sections of the trail are currently open for use: the MoPac Trail West in the heart of Lincoln, the MoPac Trail East extending from Lincoln through rural farmland to the tiny town of Wabash, the Platte River Connection/Lied Platte River Bridge near South Bend and the northernmost section in Springfield.
Nearly the entire route rests on an abandoned Missouri Pacific Railroad corridor—hence the trail's name—known as the Omaha Belt Line. From the south, the Springfield portion begins at the end of the Lied Platte River Bridge, just across the Platte River from the town of South Bend. A recently constructed portion of trail (one of the few sections not built on the former rail corridor) parallels State Route 31 east until its junction with SR 50. Here, the trail passes under SR 50 immediately adjacent to the river before turning north and rejoining the abandoned rail line.
Soon the trail enters the distant Omaha suburb of Springfield. The town was originally founded in anticipation of the Missouri Pacific Railroad building tracks through the area, so it is wholly appropriate that the route is preserved as a trail. A former gap in the route between Main Street and Platteview Road was recently filled in slightly away from the historic rail line, now allowing for uninterrupted off-road travel through Springfield.
North of Springfield, the MoPac Trail again traverses through open countryside before ending abruptly at Schram Road, south of the Omaha community of Westmont. Fortunately, long-term plans call for an extension north to meet Omaha's robust trail system.
Notice of trail damage: As of March 2019, sections at the southern end of the MoPac Trail have been damaged due to flooding; these include the section under Highway 50 and the section from the trailhead parking lot at the west end of Highway 31 down to the Lied Bridge. The Lied Bridge itself is also closed to all users. Check the Papio-Missouri River Natural Resources District website for updates.
A dedicated parking lot for the MoPac Trail can be found where the trail meets Platteview Road. In the south, parking is available at the intersection of State Route 50 and State Route 31 just north of the vehicular bridge over the Platte River.
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