More construction to tangle 72nd and Maple awhile longer

OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) -- If your commute takes you through the intersection of 72nd and Maple streets, prepare yourself to be patient for a while longer.

Utilities crews have more work to get done this year to make way for the city to start its safety improvements. MUD and OPPD crews will be on location making improvements ahead of a big project by the city to make the intersection safer.

Work will begin next spring, and when it does, drivers can expect it to look like it does right now.

"We're going to have several construction phases where we are going to shift traffic either to the — head-to-head — on either the eastbound or westbound lanes are they are today," said Gayle Strudivant, City Design Engineer.

About 30,000 vehicles pass through the intersection each day. By 2040, that number is expected to jump to nearly 40,000. It was identified as a high-crash location by the Nebraska Department of Transportation back in 2015.

"It was the vehicles that were travelling eastbound to 72nd Street and then turning northbound tended to be a high crash movement," said Strudivant. "So we're improving the left turn lanes on Maple Street so you can have more capacity and less conflict going through that intersection."

The city will also add a single turn lane bay on 72nd Street; other improvements will include new traffic signals, and sidewalk, and medians.

Hayden Blackthorne, assistant manager at Sol's on the corner of 72nd and Maple Streets, said it's worth the hassle.

"We're going to have a safer intersection and I think that's a great thing for us," Blackthorne said. "And really in the long run, it's only going to help us because safer intersection more business."

Construction is expected to last through November or December 2020.

The city is in the end stages of finalizing construction phasing. They will share that information with the public at a preconstruction meeting before beginning work in the Spring 2020.