HUMPHREY — Construction will begin July 13 on the restricted crossing U-turn (RCUT) intersection near here.
Work on the intersection at Highway 81 and Highway 91 may result in more traffic to the service road as a result. Customers of businesses that dot Highway 81 will rely on the service road to get in and out of Humphrey.
Rich Bender, general manager of Mitchell Equipment in Humphrey, said he does not see an issue during construction.
“With that service road, I don’t think it’s going to bother us too much,” he said. “I haven’t really thought about it, but with the service road we have, I don’t really see any problems. The only problem I might see is if more traffic goes through Humphrey during construction to bypass the intersection.
“That might be a problem with people not wanting to go through the intersection, just going through Humphrey and around. I wouldn’t like to see that, but hopefully, that’s when the city steps in and says that’s not going to be the way it works.”
At Platte Valley Equipment, manager Jess Schure isn’t sure how construction will affect his business, but he is not a fan of the RCUT.
“Nobody likes it. It’s not a solution, it’s a Band-Aid,” he said. “How do you measure the impact it’s going to have on your business? I don’t know. I don’t like it, I’m not for it. I think it’s a waste of energy and money at this point. I could say it’s going to impact (my business), but I don’t know.
“There’s no way of knowing that. If they want to get to the dealership, they’ll get to the dealership (but) it’s not going to be nearly as convenient, that’s for sure. In order to get to us, you have to get on an access road anyway; it’s going to be a little more challenging for people to get to the dealership, that’s a given.”
He said the RCUT is not a solution to the problem at the intersection where numerous accidents, some fatal, have happened over a number of years.
Schure said if a bypass is not considered, then he favors moving the intersection a half-mile north, which, he said, was proposed by another citizen.
“It should have an overpass, but if the state’s not giving us an overpass, then I think moving one direction or another would be a lot smarter than where it’s at right now. Maybe the Klub (81) doesn’t like that idea, I don’t know, but I think it’s going to hurt business at the Klub. I can see that being a factor. I’m just not for it, not at all.”
Roger Baumgart, owner of Klub 81, also is not in favor of the RCUT and is concerned how truckers coming off the highway will get to his business.
“I think it’s going to impact me in some manner, but I’m not sure how much,” he said. “I’ve tried talking to the state, and they won’t listen. I wish they weren’t doing it.”
Construction work will begin about one-half mile south and extending to one-half mile north of the 81 and 91 junction, according to the Nebraska Department of Transportation (NDOT).
Traffic will be reduced to one lane and will be controlled by flaggers or temporary traffic control devices. Anticipated completion is fall 2020.
According to the NDOT, the project will be constructed in four phases, starting with the construction of the right turn lanes, expanded shoulder work on Highway 81, and permanent and temporary widening on Highway 91.