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Nebraska DOT considering closing major access points to South Omaha

Published: Jan. 4, 2022 at 10:14 PM CST
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - The Nebraska Department of Transportation is considering the permanent closure of two interstate and freeway ramps that allow access to and from South Omaha.

In a recent release, NDOT provided information on project proposals at the F street interchange on US-75, and the 24th Street interchange at I-80.

“It’s upsetting because it almost feels like they’re kind of choking us off,” says life-long South Omaha resident Shanda Kohler.

“To take away that ease of access to transportation, it’s a very scary thing,” adds Kyra Peterson, a South Omaha resident and the President of the Deer Park Neighborhood Association.

NDOT says a proposed project would completely reconstruct the F street bridge over US-75 due to its age and condition. The project would also reconstruct US-75, adding lanes and interchange reconfigurations for safety. “To accommodate improvements, the US-75 and F street interchange is proposed to be closed,” it reads.

“It’s a concern you know, us people that live here and drive the area every day, we’re just like, wait a minute, this is not good, it’s going to be a big inconvenience for a lot of people, and it’s going to make traffic a lot worse, the traffic down here is really bad already,” Kohler says.

“F Street is used a lot, it’s packed, especially during rush hour times. It’s so utilized, well if they close it off, it’s going to make traffic way worse on L Street on Martha Street which is already very congested,” she adds.

Another proposed project would reconstruct the 24th Street bridge over I-80 because of its age and condition and would remove the ramps, closing off access to I-80 to allow for wider shoulders on the interstate.

Neighbors say these changes are detrimental to South Omaha businesses and workers.

“The new things that may occur in our neighborhood, like the intersections, it’s going to make it really difficult to get to these new developments, and it’s just going to kill us off,” Peterson says. “A least when they would shut the 24th Street exit down for road construction, the F Street on-ramp was still open, so it wasn’t such a big headache.”

“If you want to go to a place on Vinton Street, which is pretty popular, a lot of people come from West Omaha and get off on 24th and then they’re just right there,” Shanda says. “Now, you’ll have to go all the way down by the zoo, get off on 13th Street, drive through a labyrinth and a lot of traffic to get to anywhere in that area.”

If the changes happen, which NDOT says they wouldn’t for at least 10 years, Kohler and Peterson say people will likely stop coming to the area because of the complexities it takes to get there.

“To take away that part and to have that eliminated completely, permanently, it’s not the right thing to do for this neighborhood,” Peterson adds.

NDOT is hosting a public meeting on Wednesday, January 5 in the theatre at Omaha South High School from 4:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Formal presentations about the project will occur at 4:00 p.m. and 6 p.m. with an open house to follow.

Reminder: Tomorrow (Jan. 5) from 4-7:30 PM, presentation at 4 and 6 PM, we’re hosting a public meeting at Omaha South...

Posted by Nebraska Department of Transportation on Tuesday, January 4, 2022

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