LINCOLN, Neb. — On Thursday, the Nebraska Department of Transportation (NDOT) received a $20 million federal grant for the expansion of U.S. Highway 75 between Murray and Plattsmouth through the Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) program. The U.S Department of Transportation grant will fund nearly half of the project’s estimated $45.5 million cost.
“BUILD grants help address critical infrastructure needs across America and support the needs of a growing economy,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao.
Construction of the 6.83-mile section, which will widen the road from two to four lanes, will continue Nebraska’s effort to complete a statewide expressway system. Plans to improve U.S. 75 have their roots in the 1970s, when regional leaders determined that a four-lane freeway was needed to optimize the corridor between Omaha and Nebraska City. Later, in 1988, the Unicameral approved development of the expressway system, which includes U.S 75.
The Murray to Plattsmouth Project is funded for construction under the first 10 years of the Build Nebraska Act (BNA). The BNA was passed in 2011 to expand the statewide expressway system and federally designated high-priority corridors, and preserve the state’s existing transportation system. Work on the Murray to Plattsmouth Project was scheduled to begin between 2020 and 2023, and NDOT is evaluating potential impacts to the schedule due to the BUILD grant.
The expansion of U.S 75 generally, and the Murray-to-Plattsmouth segment specifically, addresses the fact that in the next 20 years, vehicle counts in the area are expected increase by more than 25 percent. In addition, the roadwork promotes economic opportunities and enhances roadway safety. When completed, the route’s crash frequency is expected to be reduced by 21 percent, with additional benefits in time-savings for Omaha-area commuters.
“The expansion of U.S. 75 to a four-lane expressway will reduce congestion, improve reliability of the transportation system, promote economic development and expand mobility on a key regional corridor,” said NDOT Director Kyle Schneweis. “The state is always striving to find innovative ways to balance needs while making record investments in infrastructure. Friday’s announcement further cements our commitment to Nebraska and we will continue to deliver the infrastructure needed to support continued growth.”
Receipt of the BUILD grant follows NDOT’s successful bids for TIGER and INFRA grants in the past year. The $25 million TIGER grant was awarded to the Lincoln South Beltway project, and the $18.3 million INFRA grant was given to western Nebraska’s Heartland Expressway project.
To compete for BUILD grant funding, projects need to display a wide range of support from local, regional, state and federal officials, as well as from private sector partners. NDOT’s BUILD application included support from Governor Pete Ricketts, Senator Deb Fischer, Congressman Jeff Fortenberry, State Senator. Rob Clements, State Senator. Curt Friesen, the City of Plattsmouth, Cass County Board of Commissioners, Cass County Economic Development Council, Cass County Tourism, Omaha Public Power District and Southeast Community College.
For more information about the project, visit dot.nebraska.gov/projects/bna/first10/fy-2020-2023/murray-plattsmouth.