Douglas County working to improve busy intersections in northwest Omaha

A 4-way stop on 168th Street in West Omaha is causing confusion and frustration for drivers.
Published: May. 31, 2023 at 10:27 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Getting to work in the morning and home at night can be frustrating in certain parts of the metro, none more than at a busy northwest Omaha intersection where traffic is stop and go.

Courtesy at the corners and patience in the line are a must at 168th and Ida.

“Rush hour, typically where you sit there for a little bit and just be patient with the stop and go, but there’s a lot of people out here and a lot more traffic,” said driver Amanda Berg.

The Douglas County Engineer, Todd Pfitzer, agrees because northwest development is booming.

“We are struggling to keep up from a funding standpoint and just the availability of contractors and construction design, trying to keep up with all these intersections,” Pfitzer said.

Expanding 168th and State is the first in line for improvements, including traffic signals. Work is to start this year and completion is expected by the fall of 2024.

A mile down the road, drivers who stop and go through 168th and Ida will have to wait longer.

Pfitzer says putting 168th and Ida second in line to State Street for improvements that included traffic lights, rather than doing both projects together isn’t just about money but there’s also human nature to consider.

The distance of detours becomes a factor.

“Having those two torn up at the same time would cause people to have to detour two or three miles out of their way and we really get complaints when that happens.”

So 168th and Ida is scheduled for improvements, including stop lights, two years from and won’t be done until late 2025. But several factors play into meeting any construction deadline.

“We have highly respected contractors who do good work but they’re very busy and having same trouble everybody is, they can’t get enough raw materials.”

In the meantime, drivers through those northwest Omaha intersections must patiently stop and go or look for shortcuts and alternate routes.

“Right now with all the construction, is kind of hard to avoid that, so it kind of forces you,” said area resident Brandon Owen.

Biking nearby trails is one way to avoid the intersection. Though certainly not quicker, it can be less stressful than waiting for your turn at the four-way stop.

The reconstruction of 168th and State will be completed in 2024 at a cost of $6 million. The 168th and Ida project is less expensive at $4 million and should be done by late 2025.

Both projects include replacing the four-way stops with traffic signals.