LINCOLN – The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission and the Nebraska Department of Roads are finalizing plans for repairs to the asphalt roads within Niobrara State Park. An asphalt overlay of the entire park road system — approximately 7 3/4 miles — is proposed.

Road conditions within the park have deteriorated, and park officials have identified a road rehabilitation project as a top priority.

The Department of Roads coordinates program design and construction. Design work has been completed and the project is in the permitting phase, which should be completed this spring. A competitive bidding process will follow, and construction is tentatively projected to occur in the late summer or fall of 2016.

“We are excited to be able to partner with the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission to address this need that has been identified by the community,” said Nebraska Department of Roads Director Kyle Schneweis. “We look forward to getting this project underway to meet the needs of the Niobrara State Park and the communities that use it.”

Situated upon the bluffs overlooking the confluence of the Niobrara and Missouri rivers, Niobrara SP is a popular tourist destination, offering spectacular scenery, wildlife viewing, an array of family activities, a meeting location for groups, and overnight accommodations that include modern cabins and campgrounds. The park also is a popular stay-over location for hunters and fisherman who take advantage of the region’s great fishing and hunting opportunities in the spring and fall.

This project is being carried out with funds from the state’s Recreational Road Program, which is administered by the Department of Roads. Recreational Road Program funds are generated from a $1.50 fee attached to Nebraska’s annual vehicle registration. Funds are assigned to road projects based upon a one- and five-year prioritization plan that is developed by the two partnering agencies and submitted to the governor for approval. The Commission previously listed the Niobrara project within the five-year plan, and now that project is a priority upon the one-year list.

Access to Blue Lake Temporarily Closed

All access to Blue Lake in Garden County has been closed temporarily by the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission because of deteriorating road conditions.

Above-freezing temperatures in recent days have caused the 2.7-mile two-track trail to the lake to be difficult to pass. It has become soft and vulnerable to damage from vehicle traffic. The trail will reopen for access when conditions allow.

A lease agreement with a private landowner allows for public use of the trail leading to the popular fishing spot 22 miles north of Oshkosh near the Crescent Lake Wildlife Management Area.

Commenting is limited to Omaha World-Herald subscribers. To sign up, click here.

If you're already a subscriber and need to activate your access or log in, click here.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Please keep it clean, turn off CAPS LOCK and don't threaten anyone. Be truthful, nice and proactive. And share with us - we love to hear eyewitness accounts.

You must be a digital subscriber to view this article.