Confusing construction causing dangerous decisions for West Omaha drivers

OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) -- Moments of panic are what many drivers are feeling near a west Omaha construction zone.

A confusing cone zone near Karma Coffee is creating dangerous circumstances for drivers in the area, and it’s been a hot topic.

“So it just kind of gets confusing there but mostly what I’m seeing are my customers complaining about it so it’s just kind of a cluster of cars there,” said Tracey Page with Karma Coffee.

Turning drivers and southbound traffic face three lanes. A small sign tells them to keep right and most do. But some pick the middle which is a temporary turn lane for the opposite direction so they find themselves going south in the northbound lane.

For northbound drivers, there’s a sign pointing out a turn lane and a through lane. But going south especially at night, there are three lanes to pick from and it’s very confusing.

A 6 On Your Side stakeout for just an hour captured video of a half dozen southbound drivers picking the wrong lane and driving into oncoming northbound traffic. Some make a U-turn in front of vehicles and others jump the raised island to get on the right side of the road.

“It’s dangerous, hazardous, and people not knowing where to go because it’s not that clearly marked,” said Robert Helvering, driver.
The dash camera shows another confused driver.

If not familiar with the cone zone, drivers turning or coming at three lanes have seconds to decide which one to take. The wrong choice may lead to a panic turn around or island hopping.

Omaha’s traffic division manager says he was unaware of the safety issue until contacted by 6 On Your Side.

“There apparently is some confusion, it’s resulted in some people going the wrong direction so we’ll look to make sure we improve that. We’ll look at the placement of signs, the size of the signs the reflectivity of the signs and the lighting to see if we can make any improvements,” said Jeff Riesselman, City Traffic Manager.

There’s a traffic alert for that area and 156th street from Pepperwood Drive to Blondo will close tomorrow for two days so concrete can be poured.