This is the time of the year when regional road engineers in Nebraska hold public meetings to talk about potential highway construction projects over the coming years. For Kris Winter, the regional engineer for the Department of Roads in Norfolk, there isn’t much to look forward to. With the state of the economy, she says it’s mostly “doom and gloom” as the funding situation is “dire” and she says the state of the district as a whole is “not good.”
Winter says she is most concerned about aging structures in the district. She says she’s worried that many bridges are 40 or 50 years old and are reaching the end of their useful lives. Winter says they are going to have to make some hard decisions about fixing the worst sections of highway. She says they’ll have to squeeze as much life as possible out of the roads which unfortunately means they’re risking going too far and “having a pretty bad road before you can get it fixed.”
Winter says the solutions will have to come from policy makers at all levels: “It’s beyond the Department of Roads. Somebody else is going to have to come up with some way to fund us, fund roads. We’re out of magic bullets.” She says they did not define any new projects more than five years out in their forecast.
Thanks to Jerry Oster, WNAX, Yankton