Open house at North Bend will address U.S. 30 expressway

September
19

Open house at North Bend will address U.S. 30 expressway

Fremont Tribune

The U.S. 30 expressway project will be the focus of an informational open house hosted by the Nebraska Department of Roads on Oct. 8 at the North Bend City Auditorium, 741 Main St.

Roads Department officials will be on hand from 4-6 p.m. with information about the four-lane project between Schuyler and Fremont. The public can comment or ask questions at any time during the open house.

“The Highway 30 improvement and expansion project is a long time coming, and it is welcome news that we are getting closer to commencement of the expressway construction,” State Sen. Charlie Janssen of Fremont said.

“Increasing traffic on the road and the safety concerns that accompany the congestion make this project a priority of the state of Nebraska,” Janssen said.

Roads Department figures estimate average daily traffic of about 6,500 vehicles per day, with projections of up to 11,300 vehicles by 2040.

Dodge County Supervisors Chairman Bob Missel said county officials have attended several meetings recently with Roads Department and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers officials to discuss the project.

“Highway 30, when you look at the condition of the road currently, if you look at the history of problems with it, accidents, we have those S curves near North Bend, and the amount of traffic that it handles, this is warranted and it’s welcome, so we are excited about it,” Missel said.

“We also talked about the relinquishment of (existing) Highway 30, which will become Old Highway 30,” Missel added. “I was pleased to hear that they have every intention of bringing that highway back up to standards.

“For us as county supervisors,” he said, “one of our concerns has been the relinquishment of Old Highway 30, and when they give it back to us that they give it back in peak condition. We talked at length about that process going forward, and an understanding that they would make sure that that was achieved, and that the roadway was given back to us in excellent condition, and that the bridges and passages would be checked and repaired, if necessary.

“That was something that really concerned me,” Missel said, “because that’s about 15 miles of highway that will become a county road. We’ll need to maintain it and plow it, and that’s going to be a budget consideration for us going forward, but the board is unanimous in its support of this project.”

The 5.5-mile west leg of new four-lane construction will begin just east of Schuyler in Colfax County and proceed east along existing U.S. 30 to the Dodge County line west of North Bend.

The 19.7-mile east segment will start at the county line and proceed east toward Fremont, potentially diverging from the existing U.S. 30 alignment along County Road S, and continuing parallel to existing U.S. 30 to Fremont.

“Tentatively,” Missel said, “if everything were to go as planned, construction could begin as early as 2016.”

“They’re going to start on the west side near Rogers, and probably won’t start on the eastern part of Fremont until 2019,” Supervisor Terry Synovec said.

Roads Department documents indicate construction of the estimated $139.7 million project will take four to five years.

The expressway between Columbus and Fremont became a priority when the 1988 Nebraska Highway Needs Study Report identified it as part of the state’s expressway system. The Columbus to Schuyler stretch has been completed, but finishing the expressway to Fremont has gotten hung up several times.

Originally a federal-aid project, the environmental process involved studying multiple alignments, but consensus could not be reached. A mediation process ensued in 2005 with an advisory panel consisting of multiple municipalities, county and state representatives, special interest groups, and other stakeholders.

The project was shelved in 2008 due to lack of funding, but the Build Nebraska Act, passed by the Legislature in 2011, brought it back to life. LB84 directs a portion of the state’s sales tax revenue to infrastructure projects. The U.S. 30 expressway was listed in the 2016-2019 schedule under the act.

The Legislature, Janssen said, “recognized that more resources would be needed to speed up the process on high priority road improvement projects.”

“I strongly supported (LB84) because high quality infrastructure is critical to strong economic performance,” Janssen said. “Highway 30 is a major commercial route, and the need for improvement and expansion is clear. I also welcome the improved safety measures that will be incorporated into the new construction.”

Most recently the project bogged down in a dispute between the Roads Department and the Corps of Engineers about ditches and wetlands, but Missel said those issues seem to be worked out.

“It appeared to me that the Department of Roads and the Corps at the meeting (earlier this week) had a very good working relationship on this project,” he said.

The Department of Roads has created a webpage, www.transportation.nebraska.gov/projects/dodge-us30/index.htm, devoted to the project.

Ref:  http://fremonttribune.com/news/local/open-house-at-north-bend-will-address-u-s-expressway/article_2165c2c6-b10a-561a-924d-fca35f869b0f.html

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