Progress continues at south intersection, but drivers are becoming confused by
Construction work at the south intersection of Highways 2 and 75 appears to be around the halfway mark and on schedule for completion in the latter part of 2017 or early 2018.
District Construction Engineer Curt Mueting says that the contractor and subcontractors on the project are working on a plan to continue steady progress in the winter months toward the completion of a 175-foot concrete girder bridge that will carry east and west bound traffic on Highway 2 over the top of north and south bound traffic on Highway 75.
To this point, the project has completed the northern on and off ramps for westbound traffic and bridge piers are being erected.
A pair of traffic lights and digital sign boards are being used to help motorists navigate safely through the construction site, but both the Nebraska City Police Department and Mueting say there has been some driver confusion at the site.
One recent incident had a semi driver west bound on the north off ramp taking an uncompleted road to the left instead of continuing to the intersection to make a left turn. He then went off the end of the uncompleted road and was able to cut across to his proper lane of travel.
Mueting said he has heard of east bound traffic going up the west bound off ramp. And drivers have selected the wrong lane of travel when coming off one of the ramps.
The two traffic lights, Mueting said, have led to some confusion. One of the traffic lights governs westbound traffic on Highway 2 while the other light is meant to govern eastbound traffic.
Mueting said signage has been added to help drivers avoid confusion.
The current traffic configuration, Mueting said, will continue to be in place until March 2017 when all traffic will be switched to a head-to-head configuration on the north ramps to allow for the construction of the final southern ramps for east bound traffic.
As the project changes, and, as otherwise needed, Mueting said the NDOR will try to make the construction area as confusion-free as possible with signage.
“We will add things as we see traffic movements that are occurring,” said Mueting.
Safety for drivers, contractors and NDOR personnel are the major focus.
“That is always the biggest concern,” said Mueting.
To this point, safety has not been too much of an issue. Mueting did note that a high-speed chase went through the project area and that a couple of drivers may have fallen asleep while going through the project, resulting in mishaps.
As winter weather brings ice and snow to the road, Mueting said he hopes drivers will be extra careful.
Sargent Jeff Lant of the Nebraska City Police Department said he would remind drivers to exercise caution at the south intersection area, to slow down and to watch for signage.
Those directives could be further underscored at night when flashing construction lights and reduced visibility can cause drivers to be confused or distracted.
“Slow down,” said Sargent Lant. “Make sure that you are paying attention.”