Omaha’s eastbound Interstate 80 will undergo repairs this summer that would cause extreme traffic tie-ups under normal driving conditions.
How bad will Interstate traffic be with the coronavirus? That remains to be seen.
The Nebraska Department of Transportation announced Wednesday that its annual slate of Omaha area construction projects will include Interstate repairs and resurfacing on eastbound bridges from 50th Street to the I-80 span over Interstate 480.
The work is scheduled to run from June 1 into the fall, with intermittent closures affecting the Interstate through that time.
At times, I-80 eastbound will be reduced to two or three lanes. Also for part of the work, eastbound on-ramps and entrance loops will close at 72nd, 60th and 42nd Streets.
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State transportation officials estimate that Interstate traffic in Omaha has dropped some 40% during the pandemic.
Tim Weander, Omaha area district engineer for the Department of Transportation, said the department is organizing the project assuming normal traffic.
He said officials might assume that construction delays would be cut by 40%. But he acknowledged that officials don’t know if people will be back to work or what traffic will be like.
Kyle Schneweis, director of the State Transportation Department, said the pandemic has created a lot of uncertainty for the department, including effects on its funding.
But Schneweis said, “We’ll meet this adversity head on and still deliver on the transportation system that Nebraskans count on.”
Other metro area projects for this year include:
- Repairs to the I-80 bridge over the Platte River. If the Nebraska Cornhuskers play this fall, the work is expected to finish before football season, Weander said.
- Resurfacing on Highway 75 from Fort Calhoun south to the Douglas County line. The project is underway and will last until fall.
- Continuation of West Maple Road resurfacing between Elkhorn and 108th Street. It’s also expected to take until fall.
- Repair and repainting of the westbound Mormon Bridge span.
- Pavement replacement on the North Freeway at the Storz Expressway.
- Repairs to the 24th Street bridge over I-80.
- Construction of a highway median at 60th Street and Highway 370 in Sarpy County to eliminate left turns onto the highway.