November 30, 2015

Dep’t of Roads heads back to drawing board with Highway 12 project

Neb. Dept of Roads logoThe Nebraska Department of Roads is withdrawing its permit application to rebuild a section of Highway 12, both east and west of Niobrara. DOR engineer Kevin Domogalla says the public doesn’t support the plan.

Domogalla says, “From the comments we received at the Corps’ public hearing, we decided we need to seek an alternate solution from what the permit application was made.”

The alternative would shift the existing highway south, within the Missouri River Valley, to a location along the earthen bluff. The project would reconstruct about a dozen miles of existing Highway 12 east and west of Niobrara and raise the highway elevation to provide a permanent transportation solution and protect it against future flooding. Domogalla says there was no support to move the highway to the bluff location.

“The public asked for something closer to the existing alignment that we’ll have to work through with the Corps to find what we can get that will provide a sustainable highway and also be permitable,” he says.

Domogalla says it’s a tough location to route a highway.

“The area up there, the geology and the wetlands both offer certain challenges to get a project that will work for both us and the environment,” he says.

The rising waters of Lewis & Clark Lake have forced the road to be rebuilt several times. Domogalla says they will work with the Corps of Engineers to find an alternative solution along existing Highway 12 that would solve the problem of reoccurring flooding.

By Jerry Oster, WNAX, Yankton


Winter hits Nebraska hard on Thanksgiving, begins to loosen grip

NDOR traffic camera, I-80 York Overpass

NDOR traffic camera, I-80 York Overpass

Winter hit Nebraska hard on Thanksgiving.

A mixture of freezing rain, sleet, and snow fell throughout the state as temperatures steadily dropped throughout the day.

The winter storm has passed through the state for the most part.

The National Weather Service forecasts a mostly cloudy day today with a slight chance of light snow in southern Nebraska, and light freezing drizzle or light snow in central and western Nebraska.

Highs might dip to 10 degrees in eastern and central Nebraska, from the teens to the low 20s in the west to the mid to upper 20s for the remainder of the state.

The possibility of more freezing rain or snow remains in the forecast throughout the weekend.

At 5am, the National Weather Service reported it was cloudy and 18 degrees in Scottsbluff, clear and 8 in Chadron in the Panhandle. North Platte records 18 degrees under cloudy skies. It is cloudy and 20 in McCook. In northern Nebraska, Valentine has cloudy skies and 14 degrees. In mid-Nebraska, Broken Bow checks in with fair skies and 19; Grand Island reports 20 and cloudy. It is cloudy and 18 in Hastings, Kearney, Norfolk, and Wayne.

Mixed precipitation is still falling in Lincoln, where it is 22 degrees. It is 21 and cloudy at Eppley Airfield in Omaha. Nebraska City has clouds and 23.

For road conditions, click here for the Nebraska Department of Roads website.

Unwelcomed: winter weather coming to Nebraska this Thanksgiving

State Climatologist Ken Dewey of UNL

State Climatologist Ken Dewey of UNL

Wicker winter weather will be an uninvited guest this Thanksgiving.

State Climatologist Ken Dewey with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln says Nebraska will soon get a real taste of winter.

“Cold air has been held up in Canada all fall so there’s a lot of supply of cold air up there. And, when it plunges south there’s nothing to stop it,” Dewey tells Jack and Dave in the Morning on Nebraska Radio Network affiliate KLIN. “If you go north, the weather will deteriorate quicker.”

Precipitation will fall throughout the state, what type of precipitation depends on the temperature.

Travel on the highways shouldn’t be bad, at first.

Dewey says the roads remain warm due to the warmer temperatures of late, but that won’t last.

“Sidewalks will start icing over, driveways, steps going up and down into buildings, decks, and things like that,” Dewey says of the Thanksgiving Day forecast. “So, just because it goes below freezing, it doesn’t instantly turn to ice on the roads. The roads have to cool down.”

Precipitation should end by the end of the day, with the second round of moisture coming in a couple of days.

“The second wave of moisture unfortunately is coming up the next worst time-period and that is when everybody is trying to return Sunday evening to be back at work Monday morning. So, that may have an impact on travel,” according to Dewey.

Dewey says this cold spell won’t last. It will give way next week to a warming trend.

“This is going to be a winter of annoying you, because it’s going to go between really nice and pleasant and then all of the sudden, a blast of cold air, some freezing rain, some snow, and then it will get warm again.”

For information on road conditions, click here.

Nebraska State Patrol’s Click It or Ticket

It is the busiest travel week of the year and the Nebraska State Patrol wants everyone to make it to their destination safely and back home again. There will be extra troopers on the roads through Sunday, November 29th for the annual “Click It or Ticket” seat belt enforcement campaign.

Spokesperson Deb Collins says this is especially important this year because snow and freezing rain is in Nebraska’s forecast. She says, “Adjust your speed for the conditions. Never travel faster than conditions will allow. Those slick surfaces make it difficult to stop and steer. Don’t drive in that slick, snowy weather with your cruise control on.”

The Nebraska Office of Highway Safety is providing a grant that will pay for the extra enforcement. Their statistics show that you’re odd of surviving a rollover crash by up to 70% and give you up to a 45% chance of surviving any crash.

Filling up the tank is cheaper for the holiday trek

gasGasoline prices are below $2 a gallon in many locations as Nebraskans prepare to hit the road for the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. AAA-Nebraska spokeswoman Rose White says motorists are thankful for low gas prices that haven’t been seen in seven years.

“Approximately 42-million Americans are expected to take a road trip this Thanksgiving and drivers should pay the lowest pump prices for the Thanksgiving holiday since 2008,” White said.

The U.S. Energy Administration reports domestic crude oil inventories are near an all-time high and White says many Midwest refineries are back on-line after planned or unplanned maintenance.

“Production in the region is at its highest rate in nearly two months and that has attributed to a steady decline in prices across the Midwest,” Rose said. This morning, AAA reports the statewide average for a gallon of regular unleaded gas has dropped to $2.12.

“Nebraskans traveling across the state are seeing significant savings compared to last year,” Rose said. “They’re saving about 76-cents per gallon. With a 15-gallon tank, that means they’re saving about $11.40 each time the fill their vehicle.”

The national average is a few pennies lower than Nebraska at $2.06 a gallon.