First proposed in 1988, the Nebraska expressway system could finally be completed by 2033.
The Nebraska Department of Roads has unveiled a $300 million push to begin construction on a good chunk of expressways by 2024.
Former Governor Kay Orr remembers her roads director, Jerry Strobel, pushing the project.
“So, he proposed expansion of the expressways,” Orr says during a news conference with Gov. Pete Ricketts. “We knew at the time it wouldn’t be completed immediately, but had no idea it was going to take so long.”
Orr says other budget priorities crowded out work on the expressway system and kept pushing completion to the sidelines, for years.
The $300 million comes from two initiatives approved by the Unicameral over the past five years, the Build Nebraska Act and the Transportation Innovation Act. The investment should finance completion of eight major projects, according to the Nebraska Department of Roads, as well as pay for the design of a dozen others and the planning of two additional projects.
NDOR Director Kyle Schneweis says action by the Unicameral will get construction of the expressway system back on track.
“Like I said, a lot of people are talking about infrastructure, but in Nebraska we’re doing something about it,” Schneweis says.
Gov. Pete Ricketts says recent moves by the legislature breathed new life into the expressway project.
“Our three largest industries are agriculture, manufacturing, and tourism, all of which require a strong, 21st Century infrastructure to be able to expand,” Ricketts says. “So, by moving forward on the Transportation Innovation Act we will be able to continue to accelerate the work on our expressways, continue to grow the state, kick start economic growth and, in general, make sure that we are in a position for growth in the future.”
Two of the most expensive projects will be $60 million to construct a four-lane divided highway on U.S. 26 from Minatare to U.S. 385 and another $60 million to build a so-called “Super 2” highway on U.S. 83 from McCook to North Platte. A Super 2 is a two-lane highway with passing lanes added every five miles to relieve traffic congestion.
A four-lane divided expressway will be built on U.S. 77, the Fremont Southeast Beltway at a cost of $26 million. $29 million will be allocated to extend I-680 from Fort St. to Irvington in Omaha, a six-lane interstate.
Projects selected for Construction
Project Name Project Length (miles) Project Cost (millions)
I-680 from Fort St to Irvington in Omaha, 6 lane interstate 1 $29
N-7 from Bassett to Springview, 2 lane highway modernization 2 $2
US 6 at 192nd St and West Dodge Road in Omaha, Interchange improvements 1 $17
US 26 from Minatare to US 385, 4 lane divided highway 18 $60
US 75 at Chandler Road North (northbound) in Omaha, Add lane to northbound lanes 3 $10
US 77 / Fremont Southeast Beltway, 4 lane divided expressway 4 $26
US 83 from McCook to North Platte, Super 2 60 $60
US 275 from Scribner to West Point, 4 lane divided expressway with a bypass around Scribner 25 $90
Projects selected for Design Work
Project Name Project Length (miles)
I-80 Newberry Interchange improvements and L56G from Platte River to US 30 in North Platte, 4 lane divided highway 2
N-50 from Louisville to Springfield, 4 lane divided highway 9
N-92/US 275 East of Yutan, 4 lane divided highway 10
N-370 from Gretna East to I-80, 6 lane divided highway 4
N-370 from I-80 to Bellevue, 6 lane divided highway 12
US 30 Grand Island East Bypass, 4 lane divided highway 6
US 30 from Kearney to Grand Island, Super 2 36
US 75 from Nebraska City to Murray, 4 lane divided expressway 17
US 77 Wahoo to Fremont, 4 lane divided expressway 16
US 81 from York North, 4 lane divided expressway 43
US 275 from West Point to Pilger, 4 lane divided expressway with bypass 29-30
US 385 from Alliance to Chadron, Super 2 59
Projects selected for Planning Work
I-80 Interchange(s) in Omaha/Sarpy County, New interchange(s) construction
Lincoln East Beltway , 4 lane divided highway
For more information on the road construction projects click here for the NDOR website.