Highway 61

Weather permitting, Highway 61 north of Hyannis will be raised using asphalt millings, the State Transportation Department says.

LINCOLN — State roads workers said Thursday that they are making progress in reopening flooded Sand Hills highways.

U.S. Highway 83 south of Valentine is now open for two-way traffic, and Nebraska Highway 97 south of Merritt Reservoir has reopened for one-way traffic, according to the Nebraska Department of Transportation.

Weather permitting, the department said that the roadway on Nebraska 61 north of Hyannis will be raised using asphalt millings to deal with water over the road there. That’s a change of heart from two weeks ago, when a official said there was little that could be done about flooding there.

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The high water and ice on Highway 61 have caused worries and forced detours for school bus drivers, livestock trucks and mail vehicles.

Abnormally high rainfall since spring has flooded marshes and ponds in the Sand Hills. As a result, highways and dozens of county roads have been flooded.

Flooding in March also washed out several bridges on the Niobrara River. A state official said the bridge between Atkinson and Butte on Nebraska 11 remains closed, and a temporary bridge below Spencer Dam, which collapsed during the flood, is still carrying one lane of traffic on U.S. 281. Temporary bridges are also in use near the town of Niobrara.

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Reporter - Regional/state issues

Paul covers state government and affiliated issues. He specializes in tax and transportation issues, following the governor and the state prison system. Follow him on Twitter @PaulHammelOWH. Phone: 402-473-9584.

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