The city of Omaha is considering its options on how best to redesign a confusing stretch of roadway east of Midtown Crossing.
They call it the “S curve” and city officials say by today's standards it's a substandard design. Traffic on Dodge Street at Turner Boulevard all of a sudden goes from 35 mph to about 15. The curve is too tight and the city wants to fix it.
Rolling downtown east on Dodge, most of us are familiar with the S curve that turns Dodge into Douglas. “It’s sort of a pain to deal with on a day-to-day basis if you're leaving in the morning to go to work or just coming over here to the gas station,” says motorist Nick Tanner. “You kinda gotta go around and I used to have to come out on 30th Street, then you have to come across traffic. It's a huge pain.”
Not only is it a pain, it can also be dangerous. Tanner used to live in the neighborhood and says this stretch of road can be dangerous if you're unfamiliar with the layout. “It’s maybe a little bit dangerous if you're not used to it, don't know what you're doing. I see a lot of accidents happen in this general area, so yeah, it’s probably pretty dangerous.”
City officials are looking over plans to fix the curve. They say the project is more than fixing the curve on Dodge Street, it’s really looking at a master plan transportation network for that area and right now they have a lot of options.
“Ways to straighten it out further to the west, kind of up the hill, cut over to the park early,” says the city’s Todd Pfitzer. “Other ways take it further to the east when you would cut over the block east of Walgreens and another concept looks at a new bridge over the top of 480, when you would make the transition over the top of 480.”
The city is presenting its ideas and listening to ideas from citizens Thursday at the Mutual of Omaha Dome. That meeting is going on until 8 p.m. Thursday. This project is in its very early stages. If everything goes right with all the discussions, planning and funding, construction could start in five years.