Bridge opening Monday Businesses, residents ‘thrilled’ with span

Published 12:05 am Sunday, February 12, 2012

Diane Lutz stood in the front yard of her house on South Washington Street Thursday afternoon and watched a group of workers collect debris from the bridge on Washington at Clark Street.

“They’re getting it spruced up for the program,” she said. “It’s going to be great to see it finished.”

After more than three years and $8.6 million, the bridge, now a road-topped rail tunnel covering a section of the Kansas City Southern Railway tracks, is scheduled to reopen Monday with a noon ceremony featuring speakers and high school bands. And business owners still open on the street between the Lee Street intersection and the bridge hope the opening signals better days.

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“Wonderful,” said Hardy Katzenmeyer, who owns Katzenmeyer’s Antiques and Pet Shop at Washington and Lee. “We’ve been waiting three years. We’re thrilled. I went to look at it the other day. It’s practically done, and it’s a good-looking bridge, too. I’ll save gas, because now I can come straight in. I won’t have to detour and go around.”

He said his business had begun improving over the past few months, but expressed mixed emotions over losing the lighted detour sign.

“It was a big ol’ sign, but it was a good landmark,” he said.