Drivers Should Expect Delays on Highway 281 From Roadwork

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Drivers who frequently drive southbound on Highway 281 toward Hastings, should expect to see delays starting this week due to roadwork.

A project to make the road between Grand Island and Hastings safer has started. Crews are adding rumble strips to the shoulder of 281 to make drivers more alert.

"They may be talking on their cell phone, or hopefully not texting but that's possible, or sleepy or otherwise, incapacitated and it gives them a warning. Visual, hearing, and vibration through the steering wheel that they're straying off the main-line path and it gives them a chance to correct before they get into deeper trouble," said Keith Meyer, the District Four Construction Engineer.

But the rumble strips can't be added right away.

"Because of the condition of the asphalt shoulders now, if we tried to put the rumble strips in there now, it would deteriorate the shoulders even more, so we have to mill out two inches, put two inches of asphalt on the shoulders and we'll put the rumble strips on both sides," said Bob Nordhues the Project Manager.

One lane will be closed for up to four weeks... as crews work on the road. Project managers say drivers should expect to slow down on Highway 281. And in a few weeks... when the work is moved to US-34... drivers should expect delays. Traffic on the southbound lane of US-34 will be controlled by one-lane work zones and on N-2 with a pilot car and flaggers.

"I know that 281 can see lots of commuting traffic in the early morning and afternoon so those will be the times to watch if somebody slows down way too much, traffic can back up behind them so pay attention to the road ahead of you and the drivers ahead of you," said Meyer.

Project managers tell me weather permitting, the entire safety project should be completed in August.