Flood notes: Nebraska Department of Transportation opens more flood-damaged roads

Highway 75's northbound lane is closed due to flooding near MerrittÕs Beach RV Park on Friday, March 15, 2019.

More flood-damaged roads open

The Nebraska Department of Transportation said Friday that, following inspections and repairs, the following highways closed by flooding are now open to traffic:

» Highway 14 is open between Verdigre and the Standing Bear Bridge. Width restriction of 10 feet on the bridge just south of Niobrara on one lane while work continues on the bridge.

» Highway 30 Columbus and Silver Creek.

» Highway 81 is now open to all traffic while under construction. Traffic will be head-to-head and a 12-foot width restriction is in place while work continues. All traffic, including heavy trucks and semi-truck traffic is advised to follow the posted speed-limit in the construction zone, especially where lane cross-overs are present.

Please remember some local and county roads may still remain impassible.

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More road repairs starting

The department also announced it is working on these emergency projects in central Nebraska:

» Highway 14: Paulsen Inc. from Cozad, Nebraska, and Van Kirk Brothers Contracting from Sutton,Nebraska, has been awarded the contract to start immediate repairs to the sections of Highway 14 north and south of Fullerton. Work includes repair to the road to restore immediate connectivity. Weather depending, work is anticipated to conclude north of Fullerton by April 10. The remaining portion south of Fullerton is anticipated to be completed by April 17, again depending on weather.

» Highway 22 between Highway 281 and Genoa will remain closed until repairs are completed north of Fullerton to Highway 14.

» Highway 39: Paulsen Inc. from Cozad, Nebraska and Van Kirk Brothers Contracting from Sutton, Nebraska, has been awarded the contract to Starting immediate repairs to sections the roadway sections of Highway 39. Work includes repairing roadways washed out by the flood. NDOT is in the process of designing a bridge to replace the damaged bridge south of the Loop River. Once design work has been completed, a new contract for the bridge will be let for construction. Highway 39 between Highway 30 and the junction of Highway 39 and Highway 22 will remain closed until all repairs, including bridge replacement, are complete.

Heavy truck and semi-truck traffic are advised to only take marked detours and avoid county roads in these areas. Many of the county roads are unable to support semi-truck traffic.

NDOT will continue to provide detours for each bridge that has either been washed out or requires repair through 511.nebraska.gov.

Disaster relief fund for hospital workers

The Nebraska Hospital Association has established a disaster relief fund to assist hospital employees impacted by the recent floods in the state.

The association estimated that more than 500 employees had been affected by the natural disasters that have struck the state, based on information gathered from member hospitals by late this week. The number could grow.

Hospital and health system employees, association officials said, in many cases have been the unsung heroes that have kept hospital doors open during the disaster. Some were temporarily marooned as several communities — notably, Norfolk, Columbus and Fremont — became islands, with routes in and out cut off by flooding.

The Nebraska association has committed $75,000 to the relief fund. The American Hospital Association has pledged an additional $25,000.

The Nebraska association will be working with the national organization and other state associations and partners to collect additional donations.

Checks can be written to the association's nonprofit, charitable arm, NHAREF, 3255 Salt Creek Circle, Suite 100, Lincoln, Nebraska 68504. To donate electronically, contact Barb Jablonski at bjablonski@nebraskahospitals.org or (402) 742-8163.

Floods devastate Nebraska, Iowa in March 2019

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People who populate the towns and small lake communities along the Platte River west and south of Omaha were taking stock of their homes and futures this week. Some of the properties are second homes or summer getaways, but just as many are full-time residences, from small mobile homes to comfortable villas.

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After drenching rains Tuesday and heavy snow on Wednesday, Gibbon’s low spots became apparent, first as water filled streets to the curb, and later on Thursday and Friday as the water spilled into lawns and driveways before lapping at foundations. “I’ve never seen so much water, or the force and damage it can do in a short time,” firefighter Jamey Rome said.

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Thirty buildings, including the 55th Wing headquarters and the two major aircraft maintenance facilities, had been flooded with up to 8 feet of water, and 30 more structures damaged. About 3,000 feet of the base’s 11,700-foot runway was submerged. No one, though, had been injured.

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