March 20, 2019, 12:17 p.m.
On Wednesday, Nebraska Department of Transportation Director Kyle Schneweis said receding waters and the work of road crews have helped make significant progress in reopening major roads in the state.
In total, Schneweis says over 2,000 miles of highways in the state were damaged or closed at some point during the flooding – roughly 20 percent of the roadway system.
Now, Schneweis said 375 miles of highways are currently closed, with major progress made on the reopening of key arterial roads like Highways 75 and 275. He said the Department of Transportation is working with private contractors to assess options for fixing the remaining roads.
“We have to get strategic about it, especially on these last ones. Temporary fixes versus long-term fixes – those are things we are trying to assess," Schneweis said. "Of course, we’d love to get every road open as quickly as possible even if it’s a temporary fix, but we have to be countering the discussion on whether the permanent fix is the better choice. We’re looking at lots of things: how long is the detour, how much traffic uses the route, how important is it to our regional and state economy, all of those things – how easy is the fix.”
Schneweis said roughly 200 miles of highways in Nebraska and 16 bridges will require repair or need to be rebuilt completely.