Hastings to move forward with viaduct demolition plans as new petition is in the works

Published: Nov. 4, 2020 at 4:34 PM CST|Updated: Nov. 4, 2020 at 4:39 PM CST
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HASTINGS, Neb. (KSNB) - Hastings voters decided not to approve the $12.5 million repairs to the 16th Street viaduct. Now the city is moving forward with the original plans to tear it down, but another petition may be in the works. Talks of the demolition are set to begin as early as later this month.

“This is a safety issue for our community and we need to move forward as quickly as possible to go ahead and start with demolition and engineering plans,” Mayor Corey Stutte said.

The removal plans are priced at about $1.5 million but the cost of closing the Union Pacific track is still being decided.

A group that calls themselves Hastings Citizens with a Voice, who were behind the original petition, said another petition is in the works. They claim the language of the measure was not clear and people should vote again on the repairs. Mayor Stutte said the people have spoken and now they will follow out what they voted. He also said the $3.2 million price tag the group is after is not a viable option with the amount of work needed to fix the bridge.

“I think some of the numbers that have been thrown around are the $3.2 million number that Olsson and Associates earlier would have been last year, and that’s just not realistic. Olsson and Associates says that’s not realistic.”

The bridge has been closed since May 2019 and received 5,200 votes against the repairs and 5,123 for them. There were 748 under votes, which means voters skipped over the measure and did not vote one way or the other.

The plans are already going to be discussed at the city council work session later in November and they’ll decide if they want to start plans then or wait until the two new council members join the team. There are a lot of things they need to work out with the railroad as well as engineers before any construction can begin.

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