Four lanes for highway 75 alongside and south of Plattsmouth, and making the Kennedy Freeway Extension from Bellevue to Plattsmouth a priority again are hot topics in Cass county according to the on line reporting service called the Cassgram.
The District 2 Planning Meeting of the Nebraska Department of Roads drew a group of local leaders Thursday night.
As first reported in the Cassgram, the Kennedy Freeway Extension, a project in planning for 20 years now, was dropped from NDOR’s One and Six Year Road Plan issued this summer. While state officials said it was the result of going into a "system preservation mode" due to a state roads budget crunch, local officials were chagrined because some other 4-lane expressway projects on less-traveled roads in the state are on course for construction or construction has started.
The traffic on Highway 75 from Bellevue to Plattsmouth already exceeds projections estimated for the year 2025 in previous state studies. That was the major point in a resolution passed by the Plattsmouth City Council this week and presented to NDOR.
The resolution states the daily traffic count (26,858) far exceeds the average daily count of 10,000 vehicles at which widening to a 4-lane becomes justified. The resolution also calls attention to the money the state has already spent on planning expenses.
"Plattsmouth’s citizens suffer negative economic impact when both public safety and the economic costs of driving are negatively affected by not improving U.S. Highway 75 into a four-lane highway," stated the resolution.
Janet McCartney of SID #5 spoke about the safety concerns for those living at Buccaneer Bay.
Louisville Mayor Alan Mueller talked about funds for the Highway 66 Bypass Project, which is also in the back of the state’s file cabinet. There were federal earmarks several years ago, but the project cost has continued to rise beyond the point where the City of Louisville and Cass County can afford to make up the difference.
State Senator Dave Pankonin tells Cassgram he is a "solid advocate" for the highway projects in his district but also wonders "where the money is going to come from to move the needle?" He says it’s important city and county officials point out the traffic ranking, talk about the correlation between road improvements and economic development, and relay the safety concerns. But to accomplish what’s needed for Cass County and other areas is going to take some "political will" from lawmakers to commit an extra $100 million annually for several years to the state roads budget and then it’s going to need the support of the governor. He forewarns that the Highway 75 improvements "are not going to happen any time soon."