Representatives of the Nebraska Department of Transportation provided updates on area highway projects on Thursday, saying that a four-county area including Dodge County faces up to $20 million in repairs following historic flooding last month.
During a press conference on Thursday, NDOT District Engineer Tim Weander said efforts to repair highways that remain closed following flooding could take months to be completed.
Currently, ongoing closures include U.S. Highway 30 between Fremont and Arlington; Nebraska Highway 91 between Nickerson and Fontanelle; West Dodge Road near Waterloo; and a bridge on U.S. Highway 275 toward West Center Street — which collapsed on March 15.
Work to repair Highway 91 and West Dodge Road is currently underway, and Weander said repairs on Highway 30 near Arlington should begin this week.
Work being done on Highway 91 and Highway 30 are two of five active projects being completed by NDOT in District 2 — which includes Dodge, Douglas, Sarpy, and Washington counties — while repairs to U.S. Highway 77 near Winslow were completed and the road was reopened on Tuesday.
Across the state, more than 50 repair projects are underway or completed, according to NDOT Director Kyle Schneweis with estimated damages to be $160 million on federal-aid state highway and local and county roads.
As of Thursday, 103 miles of the state highway system remained closed, down from the original 3,300 miles, Schneweis said. About 190 miles of highway will need significant repair, along with 27 bridges. Seven bridges will need major repairs, while six must be entirely replaced.
The Federal Highway Administration recently issued an initial $25 million payment to help Nebraska in the rebuilding and repair process — which Schneweis says will help NDOT “get started quickly.”
The $25 million in “quick release” federal funding will be used to help restore essential traffic and prevent additional damage at locations affected by severe flooding, the federal Department of Transportation said.
Support efforts will help open routes for medical and food supplies, as well as transportation of livestock, the federal department said.
Federal funds for emergency work to restore essential travel are available in the first 180 days after a disaster occurs and may be reimbursed at 100 percent. Nebraska officials asked for $40 million to $50 million in initial quick release funds.
Also on Thursday, Nebraska transportation officials launched a website dedicated to providing updates on flood-related road closings and repairs.
Nebraskans will be able to view updates on the progress on repairs to state highways and bridges as connectivity is restored by going online at: https://dot.nebraska.gov/news-media/nebraska-flood-2019/.
This website contains important information for those navigating the State highway system. It provides information on bridges and miles of highway closed during the flood and the recovery as well as interactive maps for closures. Additional information will routinely be added to the site to help keep Nebraskan’s informed of the recovery of our transportation system.
The website also provides important resources for individuals including links to NDOT’s various partners providing assistance during flood recovery.
As always, travelers are urged to be alert, be aware and check the most up to date conditions and closures available through 511, Nebraska’s Advanced Traveler Information System. The system is available at all times via phone by dialing 511, online at www.511.nebraska.gov, or Nebraska 511’s smartphone app.