AP NEWS

Roads Department unveils $300 million in highway projects

September 22, 2016 GMT

Norfolk gets a four-lane highway, but Lincoln’s East Beltway will remain just a glimmer in the Capital City’s eye.

The long-sought, 13-mile connection between Interstate 80 and Nebraska 2 didn’t make the list of $300 million in new expressway construction projects announced Thursday by Gov. Pete Ricketts and the state Roads Department.

Yet two stages of substantial work will begin between Norfolk and Fremont to transform U.S. 275 into a full-fledged expressway, beginning with a 25-mile stretch from Scribner to West Point.

Other major projects chosen for construction include a beltway connecting U.S. 77 and U.S. 275 southeast of Fremont, six-lane expansion of a mile of Interstate 680 in north Omaha, widening 18 miles of U.S. 26 to four lanes west of Scottsbluff, and adding passing lanes to U.S. 83 from McCook to North Platte.

In all, eight projects will each receive a portion of the estimated $1 billion made available over the next decade through two pieces of legislation: this year’s Transportation Innovation Act, which earmarked revenue from the gas tax hike lawmakers approved last year, and the 2011 Build Nebraska Act, which assigns one quarter-cent of the state sales tax to road construction.

“We’re looking forward to a lot more groundbreakings,” the governor said Thursday.

The groundbreakings might not happen until after Ricketts leaves office.

Construction on the projects isn’t expected to begin until 2024, with the exception of U.S. 275. That expressway will be the state’s first to use a contracting method known as design-build.

Ricketts announced the projects during a Capitol news conference alongside former Gov. Kay Orr, state Sen. Jim Smith of Papillion and state Roads Director Kyle Schneweis.

The Roads Department also selected another 12 projects for design work, but not construction. Those include the second stage of the U.S. 275 expressway, as well as expressways along U.S. 81 from Norfolk to Columbus and along U.S. 75 north of Nebraska City.

Lincoln’s East Beltway wasn’t entirely left off the Roads Department’s list. It was designated for “planning,” as was a new interchange in Sarpy County.

Here’s a look at all 22 projects listed today:

SLATED FOR CONSTRUCTION

* I-680, Fort to Irvington in Omaha, six-lane interstate, 1 mile, $29 million

* N-7, Bassett to Springview, two-lane highway modernization, 2 miles, $2 million

* U.S. 6, 192nd St and West Dodge Road in Omaha, interchange improvements, 1 mile, $17 million

* U.S. 26, Minatare to U.S. 385, four-lane divided highway, 18 miles, $60 million

* U.S. 75, Chandler Road North (northbound) in Omaha, add lane to northbound lanes, 3 miles, $10 million

* U.S. 77 (Fremont Southeast Beltway), four-lane divided expressway, 4 miles, $26 million

* U.S. 83, McCook to North Platte, “super 2,” 60 miles, $60 million

* U.S. 275, Scribner to West Point, four-lane divided expressway with a bypass around Scribner, 25 miles, $90 million

SLATED FOR DESIGN

* I-80 Newberry, interchange improvements, and L56G, Platte River to U.S. 30 in North Platte, 4-lane divided highway, 2 miles

* N-50, Louisville to Springfield, four-lane divided highway, 9 miles

* N-92/U.S. 275 East of Yutan, four-lane divided highway, 10 miles

* N-370, Gretna East to I-80, six-lane divided highway, 4 miles

* N-370, I-80 to Bellevue, six-lane divided highway, 12 miles

* U.S. 30 (Grand Island East Bypass), four-lane divided highway, 6 miles

* U.S. 30, Kearney to Grand Island, “super 2,” 36 miles

* U.S. 75, Nebraska City to Murray, four-lane divided expressway, 17 miles

* U.S. 77, Wahoo to Fremont, four-lane divided expressway, 16 miles

* U.S. 81, York north, four-lane divided expressway, 43 miles

* U.S. 275, West Point to Pilger, four-lane divided expressway with bypass, 29-30 miles

* U.S. 385, Alliance to Chadron, “super 2,” 59 miles

SLATED FOR PLANNING

* I-80 interchange(s) in Omaha/Sarpy County

* Lincoln East Beltway, four-lane divided highway