New Interstate 80 westbound lanes from the Waverly, Neb., interchange to 56th Street in Lincoln will open late Friday, signaling the near-completion of a road-widening project that has taken more than a decade.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony is set for Thursday, the Nebraska Department of Roads said.
Bob Sanburn, highway project manager for the Roads Department, said some work remains before the Waverly-to-56th Street section and the 12-year project as a whole are officially wrapped up in late spring or early summer.
It's the last leg of a $440 million undertaking to widen and upgrade the heavily traveled I-80 corridor between Omaha and Lincoln. The bulk of the project was paid for with federal funds.
The highway improvements will put the speed limit at 75 mph on the entire I-80 stretch between the cities.
The project also has included interchange and bridge upgrades, and the widening of I-80 to three lanes from two for eastbound and westbound traffic.
The work from Waverly to 56th Street began in mid-March and will cost about $22 million.
It involved building four new bridges, three new westbound lanes and a new I-80 westbound access loop from U.S. Highway 6 near Waverly, engineers said. Hawkins Construction Co. of Omaha is the general contractor.
The remaining tasks for this stretch include permanent lane markings, guardrail work and installation of a message board over eastbound lanes, said Curt Mueting, a Roads Department construction engineer.
Roads officials have said the I-80 widening may eventually be extended west of Lincoln to York. They have been working on an engineering study of that possibility.
It has been estimated that a three-lane reconstruction of eastbound and westbound I-80 between Lincoln and York could cost from $6.5 million to $7 million per mile.