A rural Sarpy County two-lane road and its surrounding rolling hills have been the subject of intense study for years.
Now the end of the Platteview Road Corridor study is in sight, but it’s only the beginning of a long-term project whose completion is decades down the road and tied to the future of Nebraska’s fastest-growing county, officials said.
The report will be completed in April, Mike Piernicky with Olsson Associates told the Omaha-Council Bluffs Metropolitan Area Planning Agency Board of Directors Thursday at its monthly meeting. Olsson Associates was hired by MAPA to perform the analysis for the report.
Platteview Road runs across most of Sarpy, from U.S. 75 in Bellevue to Interstate 80 in the western part of the county. The road has a general speed limit of 55 mph, but that drops lower in a few spots.
Piernicky said Thursday that the study looked at transportation and potential land use. The completed report should allow the county and the cities that Platteview Road runs through to be on the same page moving forward.
An alternative to Highway 370, which is 4 miles to the north, Platteview Road has drawn more traffic since the opening of the Highway 34 bridge over the Missouri River.
Piernicky told the MAPA board that prior to the bridge’s opening, Platteview Road saw 3,600 to 3,800 cars a day. Now, the two-lane road serves 4,200 to 4,300 cars a day.
Members of the Sarpy County Board of Commissioners have expressed concerns about increasing traffic on the road for years because it passes by a school and has limited sight lines because of hills and odd configurations.
Springfield Platteview Community Schools Superintendent Brett Richards said the half-hour before and after school, when the speed limit drops to 25 mph, traffic is OK.
“If people follow the flashing lights, we’re in pretty good shape,” he said.
It’s the rest of the time that things get a little dicey.
“You really have to pay attention when turning onto Platteview Road,” Richards said.
A draft report on Platteview Road released in 2014 focused on existing conditions and offered 11 short-term projects costing a combined $24.4 million to improve the road’s safety.
Officials have said the short-term fixes are needed because the cost and expanse of the full Platteview Road project would take decades and possibly reach up to $100 million.
Since the draft report’s release, Sarpy County officials have prioritized three intersections: 108th Street, 84th Street and 36th Street.
Designs for the 108th and Platteview intersection, which is near the Springfield Platteview Community Schools, call for left-turn lanes and lowered hills to improve sight lines. A timeline for the project has yet to be determined.
Sarpy County Engineer Denny Wilson said that intersection is a safety project that the county would like to get done, but it will depend on the budget, which will be finalized in April.
The next intersection on the list is 84th Street and Platteview Road, the site of a fatal rollover crash last March. At its Feb. 9 meeting, the Sarpy County board signed a contract with engineering firm HDR to design a realignment to create a four-way intersection.
Currently, a sweeping curve ties 84th Street to the west leg of Platteview Road. Eastbound vehicles curve north, slow and then make a right turn to continue east. Westbound traffic must stop at the intersection with 84th Street and then turn left onto a sweeping curve to continue west.
“It’s not a good intersection with how it is now,” Wilson said.
The proposed improvement for 36th Street would be to realign the road between 42nd and 27th Streets to allow drivers to see farther ahead, according to the report released in 2014. The county has not ordered designs for the intersection yet, Wilson said.
Before the Platteview Road Corridor Study is released, the public will have an opportunity to comment. There will be a public meeting from 5 to 7 p.m. March 22 at Papillion-La Vista South High School, 10799 Highway 370, in Papillion.
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