OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) -- One month down – eight to go when it comes to the 168th Street widening project from Dodge to Maple. Some drivers are wondering when one of the detours will run more smoothly.
With 168th street closed in northwest Omaha, 18,000 daily vehicles had to go somewhere else. One of the detours drivers chose takes them to 192nd and Blondo. It’s an intersection with new traffic signals installed before the 168th construction began a month ago, but they aren’t turned on. Instead, drivers must rely on stop signs and many of them have asked: “why?”
“It was just too tight of a time frame for everybody,” said Omaha Traffic Engineer Todd Pfitzer.
As it stands, the 192nd and Blondo intersection remains a unique six-way stop. Three-way stops on each side of the train tracks.
Before the signal is turned on, Union Pacific must first install what’s called a “Signal Pre-Emption” device on the tracks – that will talk to the stop lights.
The goal is to make sure a vehicle doesn’t get stuck on the tracks because of the traffic lights.
“When you have a train coming – Union Pacific takes over the signal – and they clear the tracks – making the northbound light green,” said Pfitzer.
The city says that because of its aggressive timeline and decision to widen 168th Street in 9-months instead of spreading it out over years – it just didn’t leave enough time for Union Pacific to get its equipment in place.
It’s expected the traffic signal by the train tracks will be running in the next month or two.
6 News reached out to Union Pacific for a more specific timetable, but did not hear back. Once 168th is complete, it will be well-traveled. 156th and 180th are next on the list for construction.