After two years and 51 million dollars the Topeka Boulevard Bridge is open. Motorists began crossing the bridge at 10:00 Sunday night. A ceremony was held at 5:00 on Saturday to celebrate the Grand Opening.
City Manager Norton Bonaparte Jr. served as the Master of Ceremonies. Pastor Ezell Ball from St. Mark's African Methodist Episcopal Church. After a prayer Senator Sam Brownback led the Pledge of Allegiance. He then thanked those present for coming. Remarks were also made by Shawnee County Commissioner Shelly Buhler and Mayor Bill Bunten.
The Ribbon was cut by Terry Towle who rode in the second car to cross the first Topeka Boulevard Bridge in September of 1938. He was also the last to cross the bridge before it was demolished and replaced by the new bridge.
History of the Bridge:
The original Topeka Boulevard Bridge was opened in September of 1938. Thousands of people showed up to see the new structure which was a major accomplishment at the time. In August of 2006 the bridge was closed. It took nine separate explosions to bring the bridge down. Construction began immediately on a new bridge. Surveys revealed that Topekans wanted a bridge that would beautify the city. Clocks, arches, and lights were added to fufill those desires. The new bridge was designed by Finney and Turnipseed Transportation and Civil Engineering. The contractor is Hawkins Construction.