The North Bend Eagle


  Highway 30
The shaded area above is the corridor selected for the Highway 30 expressway. Details like hihgway acess, and the exact location of the road will be determined in the next year.

Meeting to discuss Highway 30 expressway Oct. 8

by Mary Le Arneal
Published 9/24/14

The four-lane Highway 30 expressway from Schuyler to Fremont is getting closer to reality.

The Nebraska Department of Roads will host an open house public meeting to share information about the project next Wednesday, Sept. 8, at the North Bend City Auditorium from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Construction on the segment between North Bend and Fremont is slated to begin between 2016 and 2019 after several details are hammered out.

The expressway was first proposed in 1988. The next 18 years were filled with studies, meetings and discussions, followed by more studies, meetings and discussions. The expressway from Schuyler to Columbus was built, but funds ran out before the section between Schuyler and Fremont could be built.

In the Build Nebraska (LB 84) bill of 2011, funds were allotted for the 26-mile Fremont to Schuyler four-lane expressway. It will be built in three sections: Schuyler to Rogers, Rogers to North Bend and North Bend to Fremont.

NDoR recognizes that the expressway is needed to accommodate future traffic volumes, improve connectivity of regional urban centers and complete the Fremont to Columbus expressway connection.

The public is asked to comment on the information NDoR and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will present as the preferred alternative for the road. The preferred route follows County Road S west from Fremont and slopes back south where it joins the current pathway of Highway 30 a about three miles west of North Bend.

“The route has not been settled on,” NDoR District 2 engineer Tim Weander said. “This meeting will present the preferred alternative to the public to gain their input and approval. The US Army Corps of Engineers also agrees this alignment would be permittable from a wetlands stand point. We must have a permit from the USACE for this project to proceed.”

The construction will include grading, surfaced shoulders, a grassed or paved median and reconstruction of connecting county roads and private driveways. New right-of-way with acquisition of land will be necessary— some of which may include relocation of residences or businesses.

As the project evolved over the decades and the ‘S’ road route emerged as the favorite, many people in North Bend have insisted that an overpass interchange be constructed at the junction of highways 79 and 30 north of North Bend. Many North Benders have expressed concern about teenage drivers going to school and farm equipment crossing a four-lane highway without an overpass.

Weander said an overpass is not in the current plans. Highway 79 traffic will have to stop and cross Highway 30 when a gap in traffic allows.

“Nothing we are currently considering would prevent us from constructing a future interchange (with an overpass),” Weander said. “However, one is not warranted based on our estimated traffic volumes for the opening day. Once the new expressway is constructed, NDOR would continue to monitor the intersection. Based on when a traffic signal is warranted, we would consider the need for an interchange, including an overpass.”

Construction on the expressway segment from Rogers to Schuyler is set to start in 2015. It will follow the same route as the current Highway 30.
What is being presented at the Oct. 8 meeting will be the “Preferred Alignment” or corridor and is open to comments from the public. The preferred alignment shows the general route the expressway will take, but the exact path of the highway — including details such as which side of the ‘S’ Road ditch the road will run and what roads will cross it — have not been finalized yet and will not be part of Wednesday’s presentation.

“Final plan details and details concerning access will not be presented because we have just determined the alignment corridor,” Weander said. “We will come back to the public in 2015 with more details.”

Project information will be displayed and NDoR personnel will be present at the open house.

To get further background information, go the NDoR website at www.transportation.nebraska.gov/projects/ and click on “Schulyer to Fremont - US30” link.

 

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