LINCOLN — The state’s road-building plans for the upcoming year will focus on replacing an aging segment of Interstate 80 in western Nebraska, along with completing some long-planned expressway segments.
One of those expressway projects is between Bellevue and Plattsmouth, where $32 million worth of work is planned north of the Platte River.
Another is west of Fremont, where a 5.5-mile-long, four-lane segment will be added to the U.S. 30 expressway between Schuyler and Rogers.
But one of the biggest projects of the year, at $84 million, will be to tear out and replace paving on 17 miles of I-80 in Nebraska’s Panhandle, where the current concrete dates as far back as the 1960s and 1970s, when the Interstate was originally opened.
“Those are old pavements,” said Khalil Jaber, deputy director for engineering for the Nebraska Department of Roads.
The state has been targeting money in recent years to replace aging segments of I-80 across the state. Jaber said it may take another 15 years before that project is completed.
Interstate 80 across Nebraska was completed in 1974, 17 years after construction began on the four-lane freeway near Gretna.
The department released its 2015-16 Surface Transportation Program on Tuesday. It details 110 projects that will cost nearly $840 million in state and federal funds.
About $56 million worth of work is planning in District 2, which includes Douglas, Sarpy, Washington, Dodge and eastern Cass Counties.
Besides the Bellevue-Plattsmouth expressway, $5.6 million is earmarked for resurfacing 3.2 miles of Nebraska Highway 370 west of Bellevue and $5.4 million will be devoted to replacing a railroad viaduct on 84th Street, just south of Park Drive, in Ralston.
In addition, $4.9 million is being set aside for bridge replacements at the I-80/I-680 interchange in southwest Omaha, and $3.3 million for resurfacing Nebraska Highway 1 in the Manley area of Cass County.
About $74 million of funds in the upcoming year will come from the Build Nebraska Act, a 2011 law that earmarks 1/4 cent of the state’s sales taxes to highway widening projects and expressways.
Besides the expressway work in the Bellevue and Schuyler areas, a new Highway 2/75 interchange on the south side of Nebraska City will be built, and $23 million will be devoted to widening nine miles of the Heartland Expressway south of Alliance to four lanes.
One expressway project that made its first appearance in the highway plan — among work planned in the next five years — is the $200 million South Beltway project around south Lincoln. Construction on that project is not expected to begin until 2020 to 2023.
Still under review, Jaber said, is whether the state widens a final portion of the Heartland Expressway between Scottsbluff and Alliance.
Also under review, he said, is whether the final segment of the expressway between Columbus and Fremont is completed in one large step or two smaller projects.
State lawmakers this year passed a 6-cent increase in the state’s gasoline tax. But the first phase of that, a 1.5-cent hike, doesn’t go into effect until Jan. 1. Thus funding from the tax increase won’t be reflected in additional highway and bridge construction until next year.