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Papillion, Gretna, Sarpy County and the Omaha-Council Bluffs Metropolitan Area Planning Agency are taking the first step toward determining the location of a potential interchange along Interstate 80 near 192nd Street.

MAPA will spearhead a planning and environmental linkage study, or PEL, to help narrow down the most likely locations of the interchange by identifying future traffic patterns and providing a preliminary analysis of environmental concerns to streamline later studies.

The Sarpy County Board approved the agreement at its July 30 meeting, and the Papillion and Gretna City Councils had the agreement on their agendas for approval at their Aug. 6 meetings.

MAPA is providing $125,000 in federal funds to pay for the study, while Papillion, Gretna and Sarpy County will share the rest of the cost. The total cost of the study is yet to be determined.

Officials said the study, which will be conducted in 2020, will be the first step in a process that will take years but is expected to play a key role in future development in the county.

“This is going to be a big, important piece for the future of the area,” Greg Youell, executive director of MAPA, said in an interview.

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The potential interchange has been a source of friction. Papillion and Gretna fought for control of the area in 2017, when Gretna included it in an annexation package. Sarpy County responded by filing a lawsuit to stop the annexation.

Papillion and Gretna came to a boundary agreement in April that gave Papillion control over the eastern side of the Interstate and Gretna the western side.

Sarpy County Board Chairman Don Kelly called the potential interchange a “critically important” project that will connect 192nd Street, which is planned to become a four-lane north-south corridor, and a planned Platteview Road expressway.

Youell said the PEL study will be the second of its kind in the state. The first was on a road project in Lincoln.

At its July 30 meeting, the board also got an update on several roads projects from Dennis Wilson, the county engineer.

Platteview Road was prominently featured. Wilson said the county is working toward adding a third lane to the intersection of 108th Street and Platteview Road next to Platteview High School, as well as conducting a safety review of the intersection of 84th Street and Platteview Road and a speed analysis near Springfield.