The Nebraska Department of Roads recently released a record $505 million surface transportation program for the fiscal year that began on July 1, a plan a transportation official says will bolster economic growth in the state.
Khalil Jaber, deputy director of engineering at the Nebraska Department of Roads, told TI News Daily, “The department is really excited. This is the first time we’ve implemented a program of this size, and it’s due to the hard work of good partners that got us the funds to do some key projects for our taxpayers.”
Jaber said the plan includes projects the department has had on its wish list for years. “This project means smoother roads. We’re going to accommodate the public's needs; it’s going to grow jobs and facilitate the ability for drivers to move goods from farm to market.”
A total of 110 projects will be let to contract on the state highway system during fiscal year 2016.
Some of the larger projects include 11.6 miles of roadway widening, asphalt resurfacing and bridge repair east of Farnam on N-23 in Frontier County and 10.6 miles of roadway widening, asphalt resurfacing and bridge repair on N-11 north of Burwell in Garfield County. In Keith County, 11.5 miles of US-30 will be resurfaced with concrete and in Merrick County, US 30 and N-14 in Central City will be reconstructed with concrete and 4.2 miles of N-14 south of the city will be resurfaced with asphalt.
The program is funded from state and federal highway user taxes and fees.
While other states are struggling to plan some transportation projects because of the uncertainty related to the lack of a long-term highway bill, Jaber said this project came about through commitment and partnership. "One of the ingredients of our success is that we talk to everyone, we’re all on the same page, we’ve done what’s good for the entire state (transportation and infrastructure) network.”
Jaber said if Congress patches the Highway Trust Fund, due to expire at the end of the month, it won’t affect any current plans, but it will be an event his department will monitor closely.
“If Congress patches the trust fund again we’ll continue; we are heavily funded on the state side and we can probably get enough cash flow for projects," he said.