Last Leg Of I-80 Expansion Finished

Franque Thompson

WAVERLY, NE (KPTM)- Driving on I-80 has been getting better over the last few years. This weekend drivers will see even more improvements. That's because the last leg of the I-80 construction project will open on Saturday.

A decade of construction on interstate 80 is about to end. Three new westbound lanes near Lincoln will soon open. Project inspector Andy Ponce joined the highway construction crew three months ago, but did not expect to see a finished product this soon.

"When I first got here there was no roads, there was no bridge decks. There was just the girders," said Ponce.

The project stretches nearly 42 miles between Omaha and Lincoln. It cost more than $400 million. Now with everything in place, engineers hope the extra space will help traffic flow more smoothly.

"Especially when the snow is blowing or traffic's at rush hour when you've got the maximum congestion," said District One engineer, Thomas Goodbarn.

"The big semi-trucks aren't in your way, you're not in their way. I think overall it'll just be safer," said Ponce.

Goodbarn added the expansion will help police and ambulance drivers.

"If there is an incident it's a lot easier for all the responders to deal with," he said.

Ponce said the expansion would not have been possible without the men in neon.

"They worked night and day. I mean, they were hard workers, they worked throughout the day and the heat and in the acclimate weather," said Ponce.

Now ten years of construction is finally done, making I-80 an easier commute for everyone.

Goodbarn said the $400 million project is all paid off.

There are no bonds or bills left over. The Nebraska Department of Roads said crews will be working over night to open the last portion of the westbound lanes on Saturday.