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Major Millard artery remains closed, frustrates

Posted at 6:58 PM, Aug 11, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-11 19:58:29-04
It’s a summer detour that was supposed to be wrapped before the first school bell rang.
 
That didn’t happen.
 
Back to school traffic leads long commutes.
 
Orange cones cover a busy stretch of Giles, where work has been off and on more than a year.
 
The project in Sarpy County hit a few road bumps and is behind schedule.  
 
Delays are taking a toll on families trying to get to school on time.
 
Giles is closed between 144th and 156th as construction workers add a lane, forcing traffic onto chandler and Harrison – tying traffic through the Millard area. 
 
It’s far from an August deadline. 
 
Utility issues, out of the hands of construction crews, delay the project, said Pat Douse, Sarpy County Public Works engineering manager. 
 
Drivers are frustrated. 
 
"I'm just disappointed,” said parent Amanda Talley. “I don't think I'm any angrier than that. It's just hard to make sure your kids get enough sleep and then if you have to wake them up earlier, it's harder to plan your day.”
 
Talley says she expects west Omaha and Millard to have traffic issues.
 
The mother of three says she awakes the family a half hour early because Giles remains closed.
 
"To get to school and daycare and you know when the peak hours are and just kind of try to avoid them, you change your day for that,” Talley said. 
 
Parent Billy Villyleora shares the frustration.  
 
"It is disappointing because during pickup and taking the kids to school is hectic,” Villyleora said.
 
Other parents say delays are expected and easy to work around.
 
“I'm willing to live with the growing pains,” said Kerry Adams. “We all knew it was coming. It's west Omaha. It just keeps growing and growing.”
 
The 500-acre Chalco Hills recreation area intersects the Giles construction.
 
Some 56 employees were briefed by Sarpy County to make sure the parks millions of annual visitors know how to get in and out of the park while construction continues. 
 
It’s not that big of a deal, said Papio-Missouri River Natural Resources District General Manager John Winkler.
 
"They might have to get up a little early to get to work on time,” Winkler said. “It really hasn't been that big of an inconvenience through the entire construction. The county has been very good about informing us the construction timeline and when the routes would be closed and alternate routes that we need to take."
 
The idea to widen Harrison, another Millard artery, won’t likely start for at least a year because public works wants Giles and other projects complete before closing another major roadway.