New four-lane highway opens in Blair, completion connected to man's bucket list
BLAIR, Ne (FOX42KPTM) —
A dangerous two-lane section of highway in Nebraska is now gone.
On Friday Highway 133, or Blair High Road, officially became four lanes.
The hope is that it will now be a lot safer.
The completion of the road is also connected to a Nebraska man's bucket list.
Sam Harmer said, "I wasn't here that long, but it was a great time. It was a great experience."
It's been more than 50 years, but Harmer says he still remembers the summer before his senior year.
Harmer said, "In 1959 I was 17 years old. I worked on this highway when they changed it from gravel to pavement...for a 17-year-old kid to be able to work on a job like that it was fantastic and I was tickled to death to have the job."
As Harmer says, it was a man’s job and that he “felt like a man because I was doing men's work. I was getting men's wages and it made me feel good."
Harmer says it made him feel so good that at 75 years old he wanted to come back and work on the road just one more time.
"I wanted to work on the road just for an hour or so. I didn't need pay. I just wanted to do it so that I could put it in my eulogy that I had worked on the road in 1959 and I'd worked on the road again in 2017."
Harmer couldn't do it because of liability reasons, but he did get to be a part of Friday's ceremony to open up the new highway lanes.
Harmer said, "There's so much traffic on this road now...especially for safety this is a wonderful improvement."
Harmer was given a vest and hard hat, got applause from the crowd and was part of the ribbon cutting.
He even got to be part of the ceremonial first drive on the new highway lanes.
Harmer said, "Nebraska's the good life and they don't lie. It's a good life."
This is the second big event in the history of Highway 133. The first was going from gravel to pavement 58 years ago which was when Harmer worked on the road.
The Mayor of Blair says this project has been a need for over 25 years. He says too many lives were lost because of accidents on this stretch of highway.