FREMONT – As we approach Memorial day weekend, one of the busiest travel periods in the country, many of us are wondering if the flood-damaged highways in our area will be fully functional in time for a long weekend trip. The short answer, according to NDOT’s District 2 Engineer Tim Weander, is no.
West Center Road remains closed today at the Highway 275 bridge, which was washed out and had sections destroyed during the flood. The entire bridge was been re-engineered and the pavement section that was washed out is in the process of being repaired now. “It’s taken some time to get [components] ordered and delivered to the site, but the contractor is working on driving the piling now,” according to Weander. “We’re planning on having West Center open in July.”
For most commuters, the shut down of West Dodge road has caused the most inconvenience. Flood waters destroyed over half a mile of pavement in each direction on West Dodge near the 28-B link south of Waterloo. Knowing that this is an important thoroughfare, Weander said it was an early focus for the DOT. “Contractors hit that pretty hard, and we’re anticipating a June reopening for West Dodge.”
Highway 30 remains closed today as well. Flood waters left a gaping 200 foot chasm in the highway’s paving near Arlington, destroyed over a mile and a half of shoulder, and additionally undermined even more pavement by eroding away the land below the pavement. “That all needs to be replaced,” said Weander. “The contractor is in there working, and we’re looking for a July opening for Highway 30.”
Highway 91 between Nickerson and Blair was also severely impacted by flood waters, losing a segment of pavement and some of the shoulder in a wound similar to that on Highway 30. The hole in the missing pavement here is so deep that a bulldozer became submerged in the pooled water. Divers had to be dispatched to connect chains to the tractor in order to pull it out. “That just shows you how deep it is,” remarked Weander. Restoration work to Highway 91 is underway, and this section is also slated for a July reopening.
Weander and the Nebraska DOT will be leaning on contractors to make sure that the work to these highways is getting completed as quickly as possible. “We wish to see a little bit more activity on Highways 30 and 91, so we’re trying to get our contractors to work a little bit harder on those two highways,” he said, “So that we can try to get those open a little bit sooner [than July.]”
Keep an eye on NDOT’s progress at: https://dot.nebraska.gov/news-media/nebraska-flood-2019/.
An earlier version of this story misstated the piece of equipment that became submerged in the pavement hole on highway 91. It was a bulldozer.