NDOR makes US-183 alignment choice

SARGENT - - Six months after seeking input from the Sargent community, the Nebraska Department of Roads has settled on a plan involving the Highway 183 construction project. According to a press release issued by District Engineer Gary Thayer, of North Platte, of the three options considered, the department has elected to build an alternate alignment shifting US-183 easterly to maintain two lanes in each direction while under construction. The NDOR has decided to proceed with "Alternative B," as presented during an April public information meeting in Sargent. Environmental resour-ces, construction impacts and public input were considered in making the decision. Three alternate alignments to U.S. Highway 183, south of Sargent, were presented to the public for comment at an Information Open House April 26, 2012 at the Community Center in Sargent. Alternate A shifted the highway to the west, Alternate B shifted the highwayto the east and Alternative C would build the improvement along the existing highway alignment. Alternate C reduced U.S. Highway 183 to a single lane during construction where traffic would be controlled by a traffic signal. The proposed project would build a new Middle Loup River Bridge and replace two irrigation canal bridges with concrete box culverts. In comparing Alternates A and B, Alternate A impacts significantly more wetlands. In meetings with the Federal regulatory agencies, NDOR determined that required permits could not be secured for alternate A. Alternate B was preferred over Alternate C because it did not interfere with emergency services, school bus routes and postal delivery. Alternate B is the least expensive alternative. The proposed project is 6.65 miles long on US-183 beginning approximately half a milesouth of State Spur 21C (N-S21C) and extends to just south of the intersection of Jesse Street, in Sargent. The new roadway would consist of two 12-foot wide driving lanes and 2-foot paved shoulders on each side. The roadway will tie back into the existing roadway less than half a mile south of Jesse Street. According to a traffic count study, 900 vehicles are expected to travel this section of the highway in 2012, with 17 percent of that traffic being trucks. By 2025, it is projected that 1,250 vehicles per day will use the highway, with the same percentage of truck traffic. The proposed construction is scheduled to start in 2014 and take approximately two years to construct. Information regarding the project is available on the NDOR website at www.transportation.nebraska.gov/projects by clicking on the "Sargent South" link.