The 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