Private developments impacting local traffic in Omaha

Traffic congestion is worsening in Omaha as lane closures persist thanks to private development.
Published: Oct. 2, 2023 at 4:19 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Driving around Omaha seems to be getting trickier, especially on Dodge Street during rush hour.

Most major roads heading east or west in Omaha are under construction somewhere.

“I will literally leave through the back ends of Lowes just to avoid Dodge Street. I would go pretty far,” Brenda Villarraeo of Omaha said.

Long-term lane closures remain at 72nd and Dodge while Crossroads is redeveloped, the roads around it are widened, and improvements are made to infrastructure.

It’s not the only area on Dodge where you’ll hit roadblocks.

For about a year, one lane near 39th and Dodge has been closed for the construction of a new apartment building.

A second lane was closed for about a week because a crane was needed. However, Lueder Construction says it will open on Tuesday, October 3rd, 2023, nearly two weeks ahead of schedule.

Heading south, Farnam and 48th streets are closed while the Nebraska Medical Center expands.

Downtown, roads near the Mutual of Omaha construction site will be closed for years.

Omaha City Engineer Austin Rowser says the closures are needed for safety.

“There’s a hazard for the driver, there’s a hazard there for the worker, so there’s a safety component that is really the number one priority behind any kind of lane closure that we do,” Rowser said.

Rowser told 6 News that all lane closures and extensions must be approved by the city. Also, private developers are required to pay a fee.

“We do oversee this, we do review the process, we do have a fee structure in place to where people have to pay for lane rentals and closures and those kinds of things the idea there is to limit the amount of time they’re in there because they are paying a fee for it,” Rowser said.

Not everyone is complaining about the road closures.

Though Villarraeo tries to avoid Dodge, she says it’s the price of progress.

“I don’t mind the construction at all,” Villarraeo said. “Everybody has a job.”