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5 Nebraska cities to receive additional roads funding

The money will go to Omaha, Lincoln, Papillion, North Platte and Aurora in fiscal year 2015, which starts July 1.

By Grant Schulte
The Associated Press


LINCOLN, Neb. — Five Nebraska cities will receive $11.5 million in additional state roads funding due to unexpectedly low contractor bids on earlier projects, state officials said Thursday.

The money will go to Omaha, Lincoln, Papillion, North Platte and Aurora in fiscal year 2015, which starts July 1. Gov. Dave Heineman said last year's bids were $21 million lower than engineering estimates.

Omaha will receive $6 million to repair and maintain state highways, while the Lincoln area will get $2.5 million. Papillion will receive $1.5 million, North Platte will receive $1.1 million and Aurora will receive $400,000.

The money will help pay for roadwork for 11 Omaha projects, five in Lincoln, and one in each in Papillion, North Platte and Omaha.

"These partnerships benefit residents, commuters, tourists, freight haulers and travelers in and around the metro Omaha and Lincoln areas, as well as across the state of Nebraska," Heineman said at a Capitol news conference.

The Nebraska Department of Roads identified a series of highway maintenance projects throughout the state in 2013. Part of the $21 million in savings was applied to road-maintenance projects in Omaha and Lincoln last year. Department director Randy Peters said the cost savings were likely caused by competition among roads contractors bidding on projects.

Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert said the funding for state road projects will free additional city money for neighborhood street repairs. A large portion of Omaha's share of the money will pay for resurfacing at 90th and Dodge streets, the city's busiest intersection with more than 107,000 vehicles each day. Work is slated to begin after July 4.

"You can imagine the wear and tear on the road and the need for repairs," Stothert said. "Without this help from the state, this work would not be possible right now."

Lincoln Mayor Chris Beutler said local funding by itself has only allowed his city to upgrade 39 of its 1,200 miles of road.

"Their help is badly needed and greatly appreciated," he said.

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