Construction underway to fix Nebraska highway is ahead of schedule

A storm-damaged road has provided Murray with an unexpected opportunity to repair its highway and bridge.
Published: Sep. 28, 2021 at 3:03 PM CDT
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MURRAY, Neb. (WOWT) - Nearly a month ago 6 News reported on the small town of Murray, south of Bellevue, for a road washout alongside an existing bridge construction project.

The road into Murray had construction on one side to replace the bridge but still one lane of Hwy 1 open at the beginning of August. Fast forward to Aug. 31, the road leading to the bridge collapse after intense overnight rain swept away the ground underneath.

Today, that road no longer exists.

“They’ve removed most of that wall, and the soil nail wall, at least where it collapsed. And now they’re back actively in there and rebuilding, they’re actually building the new wall and coming from the ground up,” said District 2 engineer, Tim Weander.

The area now looks more like a child’s construction toy dream rather than a roadway, piles of dirt and heavy machinery buzzing all around. While it looks like a mess, this would allow the construction company, Graham Construction, to finish up ahead of the adjusted schedule.

“Well originally it was supposed to be done at the end of November in 2020, then it was delayed a year because of other situations, conditions on the project, so it was November 30 of 2021. Now we think by the end of October we’ll have it completed,” said Weander.

The $12 million project was initially planned as a phased approach to replace the bridge which was constructed in the 30s. Although for commuters in and around Murray, the road collapse could be a blessing in disguise.

“Now that the highway is closed they’re able to get in there and remove the other half of the bridge that was in a phased condition, now they can go in and attack this bridge and get the rest of the bridge constructed in the same time period,” said Weander.

Weander understands the frustration people in Murray have with this project, delays, and lengthy detours, but assures them the permanent solutions being constructed now won’t repeat the problem we saw with the temporary fixtures.

“The safety will be there when we’re completed, there’s nothing to worry about with the construction, ultimate construction. Properly designed, properly inspected, properly constructed. So there shouldn’t be any issues at all with the final product,” said Weander.

Until the work is complete, the quiet town of Murray will be a little louder and a little busier than before. Although the project looks like it’s more work now, Weander says this won’t have an impact on the overall cost.

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