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Lancaster County on pace to repair five more bridges by November

Published: Jun. 21, 2021 at 8:48 AM CDT|Updated: Jun. 21, 2021 at 8:49 AM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - The 2019 flooding created the need for dozens of bridges to be repaired across Lancaster County, but progress is being made at a rapid pace.

County engineers said many of the bridges under construction are scour critical, meaning the creek surrounding it is either too wide or too deep, making the bridge less stable.

After the flooding in 2019, more than 20 bridges in Lancaster County were closed but now that number is down to 13. Crews have made significant progress over the past couple years, but there are still hurdles they say the public should be aware of.

“The biggest thing a lot of people don’t realize, it takes a year to design a bridge and permit it. We have to go through federal government and the Army Corps of Engineers. Often times we have to get flood permits, and we also have several endangered species in Lancaster County that we have to coordinate,” said Lancaster County engineer, Pam Dingman.

County engineers say the goal is to build bridges efficient enough to be used for 100 years, which can also lead to more planning time.

By November of this year, county crews hope to have less construction zones on bridges, making commutes easier for travelers.

Bridges that are closed on pavement take first priority because of the high number of drivers traveling on the bridge. By November, engineers are hopeful there will only be eight bridges still under repair, which would be the least amount in nearly five years.

“My biggest goal on any given day is making sure that we’ve secured our major paved corridors in the county, so we can reduce the number of people that we impact with closures,” said Dingman.

Engineers say there is now more technology and calculations that go into building bridges, which helps withstand extreme weather like flooding.

More information on bridge and road closures can be found here.

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