Posted 7 months ago
By Kevin Horn
During the annual meeting of the Heartland Expressway Wednesday morning at the Knight Museum in Alliance, Randy Eldorado of the Nebraska Department of Roads told the full house that the 60-million dollar project is being held by environmental studies and other federal issues.
He says lower traffic numbers and crash statistics are also preventing the project from moving forward as quickly as local residents would like.
Eldorado, who designs roads, stated that the roadway engineering plans are about 50 percent complete.
He says the project is on the state’s five-year road plan, and, in his words, “it will happen, but the best case scenario probably is big yellow equipment changing the landscape beginning in 2016.”
Eldorado says it will take two to three years to complete the project, which will begin south of Alliance and end at the L-62-A junction three miles south of Angora.
Heartland Expressway Committee Treasurer Deb Cottier of Chadron was pleased with the information that was shared by NDOR.
“I know the department of roads wishes this project would move faster,” she said, “but the reality is we have to satisfy all the requirements the feds put out there. To say this project is going to happen sometime in the next five years is huge. From that standpoint, I am pleased.”
Those in attendance stressed the importance of the project, noting the dangers of traveling on the highway and meeting on-coming traffic at speeds of 60-65 mph that are attempting to pass slow moving vehicles such as harvest equipment.
Eldorado says the plan of completing the entire Heartland Expressway from Denver to Rapid City appears to be 20 years down the road.