Nebraska wants some money, actually quite a bit of money, from the federal government to repair roads damage during the flooding this year.
Highway engineers from Nebraska have estimated it will take $16.6 million to repair the roads damaged because of flooding, both from the Missouri River and the Platte River. Most of the damage done wasn’t done by floodwaters, but by diverted traffic.
Highway Program Manager Kendall Tonjes with the Nebraska Department of Roads says the vast majority of the damage was done to Highway 75 in southeast Nebraska; $11 million from trucks and other traffic diverted from Interstate 29 to 75.
“I was totally surprised by how much it is going to cost to repair Highway 75,” Tonjes says. “I had no idea that the damage was that extensive and that long.”
Semi-tractor trailers forced to leave the flooded interstate rolled over the two lanes of Highway 75, causing deep ruts in the blacktop from the Kansas state line to Auburn, a 26-mile stretch of road. Highway 73 suffered damage as well as some drivers took a shortcut through Falls City that avoided bridge construction on Highway 36 in Kansas.
Floodwaters from the Platte River did more direct damage in west-central Nebraska.
Tonjes says Nebraska has asked for full federal reimbursement to pay for $2 ½ million spent on emergency repairs the Department of Roads completed immediately after floodwaters receded. The federal government is expected to reimburse 80% of the remaining costs.
The report is available on NDOR’s website at www.roads.ne.gov/docs/damage-report.pdf.