Highway 75 Construction Worries Locals About Upcoming Festival
NEBRASKA CITY (kptm) - A state project just south of Omaha is expected to bring a lot of convenience for drivers who make the commute back and forth to the city and for folks driving through. The state said the construction will make things easier for drivers in the future, but it's creating big headaches for drivers now. For the past several years, the state has been rebuilding highway 75 from just south of Bellevue all the way to Nebraska City. The project will replace two lane roads with little to no street lights with a four lane expressway. It's expected to cost nearly 160-million dollars to complete, but the part of project north of Nebraska City has closed down the highway, creating a confusing detour for drivers. Motorists are being re-routed to highway 34, highway 50 and highway 2. The detours add as much as 32 miles to trips and local businesses are feeling the impact. The Department of Roads said the six mile portion of highway 75 took a beating during the summer flooding of 2011. Construction crews have ripped up the concrete, now just chunks of asphalt remain. Nearly 4,000 drivers take the road to get to Nebraska City every day and with the towns biggest festival coming up this fall, one local farm said they're doing all they can to stay positive. "We knew that this had to be, that this decision was made and so we're just going to make the best of it and we're just going to be optimistic that they're going to get it done quick." The blossoms on the apple trees at Arbor Day Farm are just starting to bloom. A sign there will be plenty of apples for Nebraska City's Applejack festival in September. Susan Freshman said fall is the busiest time at the farm. She worries the construction on highway 75 could cause people to avoid the area, but she encourages people to take the roads less traveled. "I just think it's a more scenic route. I think you're just going to see different parts of the county so just take the detour, enjoy the ride. It's a destination, so enjoy the ride to the destination." To accommodate traffic, the department of roads has created several detours to get to Nebraska City as well as Arbor Day Farm, and while some visitors have gotten lost along the way, she said they all tell her they enjoyed the scenic views. "There's always those that need just a little help trying to find us, we are just a little bit located on the northwest corner of Nebraska City, so it's a little bit of a maneuver to get here, but they're doing it." The Department of Roads estimates that the highway 75 project from Union to Nebraska City will wrap up in mid-September, however they said it all depends on mother nature. A Gas N' Go convenience store along the closed portion of highway 75 is also taking a hit. The department of roads offered to build a temporary rock road from a nearby county road but only locals know about it.