They’re the gatekeepers that often determine how quick your drive around Omaha will be.
They are the Omaha area’s busiest intersections, and the Metropolitan Area Planning Agency just released its latest ranking. Drivers who commute through these intersections know them well. They’re necessary stops, and stop you will, inching forward, stalled until the green light approves you to proceed on your way.
In southwest Omaha, traffic along the L Street and Industrial Road corridor is pushing those intersections higher in MAPA’s rankings.
Omaha has one intersection that’s clearly the busiest — 90th and Dodge. It continues to hold first place.
But east of there, the latest traffic numbers reflect some interesting movement. Traffic is down on Dodge Street at almost every intersection from central Omaha through midtown into downtown.
Around the Omaha metro area as a whole, traffic is growing — but at a slower rate than in recent years. MAPA figures show that traffic grew by 1.6% between 2016 and 2018, down from the 2% growth in previous reports.
Here’s a look at how the traffic numbers look for Omaha’s 10 busiest intersections.
10) 72nd and Grover
2016 rank: 9 2018 vehicles per day: 64,000 Traffic trend: Dropping
This intersection, just north of Interstate 80, saw its traffic numbers dip over the two years. But the totals are up significantly from 2014, when it ranked as the region’s 40th busiest intersection.
9) 108th and Maple
2016 rank: 14 2018 vehicles per day: 65,100 Traffic trend: Growing
The 108th Street and West Maple Road intersection is a gateway to and from the Interstate. It draws 16,300 more vehicles a day than the 120th and West Maple intersection.
8) 86th Street/Cass Street and Dodge
2016 rank: 8 2018 vehicles per day: 65,900 Traffic trend: Decreasing, too
This one held its place as the eighth-busiest intersection.
7) 78th and Dodge
2016 rank: 5 2018 vehicles per day: 66,200 Traffic trend: Decreasing
Traffic counts are down through the stretch of Dodge Street east of Omaha’s busiest intersection and through intersections including 86th, 84th, 78th, 72nd and 69th Streets. It’s still Dodge Street — they’re still busy intersections. Just not as busy.
6) 144th and Industrial Road
2016 rank: 26 2018 vehicles per day: 69,150 Traffic trend: Increasing greatly
Traffic at this intersection backs up often, and its counts grew by 14,450 in the two-year period.
5) 72nd and Pacific
2016 rank: 3 2018 vehicles per day: 72,300 Traffic trend: Dropping, too
The 72nd and Pacific intersection ranked third but now is fifth.
4) 72nd and Dodge
2016 rank: 2 2018 vehicles per day: 75,850 Traffic trend: Dropping
The 72nd and Dodge Street intersection is still a busy one. But the numbers show that traffic there has dropped a bit in the past few years. In 2016, it ranked as Omaha’s second-busiest intersection. With the daily vehicle total dropping by 7,750 — and with southwest Omaha traffic picking up — 72nd and Dodge fell a couple of spots.
3) 132nd and L/Industrial Road
2016 rank: 7 2018 vehicles per day: 84,250 Traffic trend: Increasing a lot
The 132nd and L Street/Industrial Road intersection isn’t far behind its counterpart a mile east at 120th and L, seeing just 500 fewer vehicles per day. But its increase is greater — growing by 13,500 vehicles a day in the two-year period. It draws a lot of traffic from Millard, and Sarpy County beyond that, along with traffic from west Omaha and the West Center Road corridor. In 2013, the Streetsblog website named it the Worst Intersection in America for the trouble it poses pedestrians.
2) 120th and L
2016 rank: 4 2018 vehicles per day: 84,750 Traffic trend: Increasing a lot
A several-mile stretch of L Street/Industrial Road -- including the 132nd and 144th Street intersections -- is drawing a lot more traffic. Traffic at 120th and L Street grew by 10,200 vehicles a day over the two-year period, according to MAPA’s numbers. That’s a nearly 14% increase. It’s an important corridor through southwest Omaha. At 120th Street, the intersection is essentially a gateway and exit point for Interstates 80 and 680.
1) 90th and Dodge
2016 rank: 1 2018 vehicles per day: 106,900 Traffic trend: Growing
This is Omaha’s busiest intersection, as it has been since construction of the elevated West Dodge Expressway, which addressed traffic backups at 114th Street and West Dodge Road. When that $100 million project happened, it was expected that the busiest intersection would shift down Dodge to 90th Street. It has — 90th Street and West Dodge Road now has more traffic than 114th and West Dodge did before construction of the elevated expressway.
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Dodge Street: Dodge was believed to be named for U.S. Sen. Augustus Caesar Dodge, of Iowa, who championed the Kansas-Nebraska Act in 1854 — along with Stephen A. Douglas of Illinois, for whom Douglas Street is named. The 1854 act established the two territories, opened new lands, repealed the 1820 Missouri Compromise and allowed new settlers to decide whether they would allow slavery. But, over the years, it became less clear of the origin of the street name, and many took issue with what they called Augustus Caesar Dodge's pro-slavery stances. And so, in 2016, an effort was launched to officially name Dodge Street in honor of Civil War Brig. Gen. Grenville Mellen Dodge and his brother, real estate pioneer N.P. Dodge. Those efforts were approved by the city, county and state in 2016.
Jones Street: Alfred D. Jones did Omaha City’s first survey in 1854. It was said that, as Omaha’s first postmaster, the lawyer carried the mail in his hat.
Johnny Rodgers Street
Johnny Rodgers Street: Marlin Briscoe, left, and Johnny Rodgers pose for a photo before a ceremony to rename a section of Burt Street, between 30th and 33rd Streets, Johnny Rodgers Street on July 30, 2015. Read more
Capitol Avenue: This route led from the Missouri River to the second Nebraska territorial capitol, located on top of a hill near 20th and Dodge Streets. That building was replaced by Omaha High School in 1872, then by the school’s second building, which was completed in 1912. Omaha High School is now known as Omaha Central High School.
Mike Fahey Street
Mike Fahey Street: Fahey, pictured in 2009 at the ceremony renaming seven blocks of Webster Street from 10th Street to Creighton University as Mike Fahey Street, was the city’s longest-serving mayor since the City Charter was approved by voters in 1956.
A.V. Sorensen Parkway
A.V. Sorensen Parkway: Omaha businessman Axel Vergman Sorensen, mayor from 1965 to 1969, chaired a convention in 1956 that wrote the city’s current governing charter.
Farnam Street: Originally the main drag in Omaha, Farnam Street was named for railroad promoter Henry Farnam.
Bob Gibson Boulevard
Bob Gibson Boulevard: Bob Gibson speaks after the unveiling of the street named after him in 1999. Deer Park Boulevard near Rosenblatt Stadium was renamed Bob Gibson Boulevard after the former St. Louis Cardinal pitching great and Hall of Fame member. Read more
Neal Mosser Boulevard
Neal Mosser Boulevard: The stretch of Cuming Street from 30th to 33rd Streets was named after longtime Tech High basketball coach Neal Mosser in 2005. His coaching tenure stretched from 1948 to the late 1960s, and he was recognized as a positive influence on countless athletes, including Hall of Fame pitcher Bob Gibson and NBA star and Olympic gold medalist Bob Boozer.
Bud Crawford Street
Bud Crawford Street: Larimore Avenue between 31st Avenue and 33rd Street was designated Terence "Bud" Crawford Street. The professional boxer was born and raised on that stretch of Larimore. Read more
Millard Avenue: Ezra Millard was president of the Omaha National Bank, which he organized in 1866. In 1871, he bought the land that was to become Millard.
Carol Van Metre Lane
Carol Van Metre Lane: Named in honor of the late Carol Van Metre, who worked to help ensure that the children of Omaha had parks and fields in which to play. It winds east from 24th Street at Woolworth Avenue and leads to Columbus Park, the Columbus Community Center, and Van Metre Field, which is named for Carol’s husband, Dave. Read more
College World Series Avenue
College World Series Avenue: The section of 13th Street between Cuming Street and Mike Fahey Street was renamed College World Series Avenue in 2011 as a permanent reminder that TD Ameritrade Park is the home of the CWS. Read more
Dave Rimington Street
Dave Rimington Street: Mayor Mike Fahey with football great and philanthropist Dave Rimington, an Omaha South grad, during the dedication of the 20th Street to 24th Street section of L Street as Dave Rimington Street in 2002. Rimington redefined the center position at Nebraska, winning two Outland Trophies and a Lombardi Award before launching a seven-year NFL career. Read more
Boyd Street: James E. Boyd was twice mayor of Omaha in the 1880s. The Irish immigrant became governor of Nebraska in 1890.
California Street: Gold seekers headed west for California landed near this street after crossing the Missouri River.
Cuming Street: Secretary of the Nebraska Territory and acting Gov. Thomas B. Cuming convened the first Nebraska Territorial Legislature in Omaha in 1854, making Omaha the capital.
Harney Street: At the outbreak of the Civil War, Gen. William S. Harney was commander of the Department of the West.
Kyle Wayne LeFlore Street
Kyle Wayne LeFlore Street: The block of 29th Street between Fowler Ave and Meredith Ave was renamed Kyle Wayne LeFlore Street in honor of Sgt. LeFlore on July 20, 2018. LeFlore was slain in Omaha while on holiday vacation from the military. Read more
Marlin Briscoe Way
Marlin Briscoe Way: Marlin Briscoe, the first black starting quarterback in the NFL and an Omaha South High School graduate, was honored with a street named in his honor. Read more
Military Avenue: This part of the original Overland Trail twisted through Omaha and Benson starting in 1857. It was used to move military supplies to Fort Kearny and by settlers heading to the Northwest. In 1994, part of Military Road near 82nd and Fort Streets was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Minne Lusa Boulevard
Minne Lusa Boulevard: Minne Lusa is a Native American term meaning “clear water.” A Florence pumping station was on the street. An elementary school of the same name is located near Minne Lusa Boulevard today.
Paxton Boulevard: William A. Paxton, known as the “real founder of South Omaha,” organized the Union Stockyards Company. He co-founded Paxton & Gallagher Wholesale Grocery, became co-owner of the Paxton & Vierling Iron Works and served in the Nebraska legislature. The Paxton Hotel was named for him.
Poppleton Avenue: Andrew Jackson Poppleton, a member of the first territorial legislature, was involved in deciding the territorial capital’s location. The attorney successfully represented Standing Bear in the Ponca chief’s 1879 trial. Poppleton served three times as mayor of Omaha.
Saddle Creek Road
Saddle Creek Road: This one sounds like it could be a tall tale, right? Details are sparse, but a man was apparently heading west out of Omaha to make his fortune mining gold. He didn’t get very far before a saddle fell off his wagon and into a creek that then flowed in the area. Hence the name Saddle Creek.
Woolworth Avenue: Attorney James Woolworth helped develop South Omaha’s stockyards. He wrote and published “The History of Omaha” in 1857. The city was only three years old.
Fred Astaire Avenue
On May 11, 2019, the day after what would’ve been dancing and acting legend Fred Astaire’s 120th birthday, Omaha honored its native son with his own street. The Fred Astaire Avenue sign is visible on 10th Street at Martha Street, less than a block from the house where Astaire was born. The family moved from Omaha to New York City in 1905.