Iowa and Nebraska Announce Deal for Decatur Bridge Ownership

AASHTO Journal, 15 November 2013

Iowa Department of Transportation and Nebraska Department of Roads officials announced Thursday that the two states will soon take over ownership and jurisdiction of the Decatur–Onawa Toll Bridge, connecting the two states.

The deal takes the ownership from the Burt County Bridge Commission and will result in the removal of tolls from the bridge. Once the transfer is complete, NDOR will maintain Nebraska 51 (the route on Nebraska’s side of the bridge), while Iowa will have control over Iowa 175, the route on its own side. The new deal allows for toll removal to start as soon as Nov. 30. The agreement was approved Tuesday by the Iowa Transportation Commission, while a recommendation to proceed on the deal has been received from the Nebraska Highway Commission.

“The Decatur–Onawa Toll Bridge over the Missouri River is an important transportation link for communities and the region encompassing Iowa and Nebraska,” said NDOR Director/State Engineer Randy Peters. “Taking over responsibility from the Burt County Bridge Commission, both States will be able to ensure planning, maintenance and replacement as needed to provide a safe and vital future for the residents, commuters, freight haulers and travelers.”

The Decatur Bridge–Onawa Toll Bridge opened in 1955. At first, toll money went to pay for the bridge’s construction bills, but it now goes toward maintenance and upkeep of the structure. Officials plan on keeping the bridge going for another two decades, but additional maintenance in the meantime is required. The bridge serves as a vital connection for residents, especially for those living in Decatur but working or doing business in Onawa.

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