On Dec. 15, the City of Topeka will reach a significant transportation and financial milestone: It will make its last payment of $3,080,525 to pay off the Topeka Boulevard Bridge.
“I want to thank the citizens of Topeka and Shawnee County, who voted for the half-cent sales tax that made this bridge possible,” said Mayor Larry Wolgast. “This is an example of our residents responding to a significant need in our community. We invite you Dec. 15 to celebrate our final payment on this landmark structure, and your vision and vote that helped us get here.”
To celebrate the milestone, the City has scheduled a walk across the sidewalks of the bridge, starting at Noon from NOTO on Dec. 15. Each participant in the 2.4 mile (or 1.2 mile, depending on where you stop) will receive a complimentary button and free hot chocolate, courtesy of Topeka Hy-Vee.
This new Topeka Boulevard Bridge has been open to traffic for more than eight years, opening Aug. 4, 2008. The original Topeka Avenue Bridge, however, opened to traffic more than 78 years ago, on Sept. 1, 1938.
Construction of the new bridge spanned more than two years, and the total cost of the project was set at $51.1 million. This was one of the projects included in the countywide half-cent sales tax approved by voters in 2004.
Event Day Information
· 11:30-11:50 GET FIT class on the levee led by THE HEALTH HIPPIE Chris Omni
· 11:30-Noon – Button pickup and hot chocolate, NOTO Arts Center, 935 N. Kansas Ave.
· Noon – News conference featuring Mayor Larry Wolgast and Interim City Manager Doug Gerber, NOTO Arts Center
· 12:15-1:30 – Walk across the bridge
o Roundtrip walk is 2.4 miles. For those who want to go half way, the City will provide a shuttle back to the Great Overland Station.
Total Project Cost: $51.1M
· $16.8 from federal funds
· $33.4 from countywide half-cent sales tax revenue bonds
· $850,000 from sales tax revenue
The bonds were originally issued in 2006 for 10 years for a principal amount of $30.6 million and interest of nearly $9 million for a total of $39.6 million. However, the City refinanced the bonds in 2011, saving more than $2 million in interest. The proceeds went to payoff of remaining amount of the 2006 bonds.
See the flyer here: Be The Bridge
Aly Van Dyke
City of Topeka