CREATED Sep. 26, 2013
Omaha, NE - To compete with more bike friendly states, Nebraska is making a connection from the capitol going eastward. Portions of the MOPAC trail currently run through Lincoln and Sarpy County. The plan is to connect the separate trails into one long 80 mile ride.
Alongside cornfields and river bends, there is a trail that gives Nebraskans a new look on their state. The Papio-Missouri river natural resources department is working to connect the MOPAC trail from Omaha to Lincoln.
A portion of the project is currently open from highway 50 to north of Springfield. NRD manager John Winkler said along with the Platte River, users of the trail will see parts of the metro, often overlooked, "There's some different agricultural experiences that they will see; forested areas, creeks and rivers."
The project started nearly a decade ago with plans to create 80 miles of outdoor trails. Winkler said the reason it took so long to get started is due to funding.
Construction crews are laying rock for another 4.5 miles near the Platte river bridge. The portion will cost $2.6 million dollars. A grant from the federal highway administration and Nebraska department of roads will pay 80 percent of the construction costs. NRD will pay the rest.
The trail under construction will run from highway 50 West to the lied Platte river bridge and will open in the spring of 2014. The complete 80 mile project is expected to be complete in five years. Funding for each portion depends on the county it runs through.
Heron Bay bar owner Stephen Smith isn't concerned with the price tag. He says it's about time they complete the trail. "We're very pro of the bike trail and we're pro bike trails throughout Nebraska and especially the metropolitan areas, it gives people the opportunity to get out and enjoy nature." The MOPAC runs past his river view venue. He expects to gain customers, "people from Lincoln have really shown an interest in coming up here and that will make it a lot easier for people from Lincoln to get here."