Sargent citizens weigh in on highway project

SARGENT/TAYLOR - - The Nebraska Department of Roads is busy on US - 183 near Sargent and Taylor, and the department has recently hosted informational meetings in both communities to engage the public in making some decisions on certain aspects of the project. The NDOR has announced some new plans for the Taylor North Bridge. According to District Engineer Mark Kovar, after further assessment of the bridge condition and input from the recent public information meeting held in Taylor, a permanent repair project will be scheduled rather than replacing the bridge. The permanent repairs will eliminate the need for a detour and likely two-year construction duration. Permanent repair work could commence as early as spring 2013, similar to the plan for total bridge replacement, however, the bridge repairs would be completed much sooner. Engineers have determined that the south bridge approach could be replaced using currentdesign standards, with a new concrete approach and steel piling. Environmental reviews must be conducted and plans processed before the project can be let to contract. This bridge repair project is estimated to cost $191,000. Last Thursday the NDOR hosted an informational open house at the community center in Sargent for the purpose of soliciting input from the public on that project. This 6.65 mile project on US-183 begins approximately half a mile south of State Spur 21C (N-S21C) and extends to just south of the intersection of Jesse Street, in Sargent. The southernmost five-mile portion of the project involves restoration of the pavement. This resurfacing, restoration, and rehabilitation project also includes paving two feet of the existing six-foot earth shoulders on each side of the existing 24-foot roadway. The bridge structure over the draw, a quarter mile south of County Road 812, would be replaced with a new concrete box culvert on the existing alignment. Traffic will be maintained with a temporary road. The part of the project the NDOR was seeking public input on is the north section, which would be reconstructed on new alignment. Three alternatives were presented to the public for comment at last Thursday’s meeting. These realignments would allow for construction of a new Middle Loup Bridge and replacing two irrigation canal bridges with concrete box culverts, without detouring US-183 traffic. The new roadway would consist of two 12-foot wide driving lanes and two-foot paved shoulders on each side. The roadway will tie back into the existing roadway less than half a mile south of Jesse Street. While construction would require no detouring of US-183 traffic, occasional lane closures would be necessary with appropriate traffic control. Local access will be maintained during construction. New Right-of-Way (ROW) and temporary construction easements will be required throughout the length of the project area. The alternative chosen will determine the amount of the ROW impacts. Impact to one residential property is possible;, however, no relocations are anticipated. Wetland impacts would occur with all three alternatives; mitigation will be determined depending on the alternative. US-183 is a high traffic highway. According to a traffic count study, 900 vehicles are expected to travel this section of the highway in 2012, with 17 percent of that traffic being trucks. By 2025, it is projected that 1,250 vehicles per day will use the highway, with the same percentage of truck traffic. The proposed construction is scheduled to begin in the fall of 2013 and take approximately two years. The estimated cost is $9 million.