Questions and concerns regarding the 168th street widening project were addressed at an open house meeting held in Northwest Omaha Monday evening.
The public meeting, hosted by the city of Omaha's Office of Transportation, discussed the new street improvement plan, which includes widening 168th St. between West Dodge and West Maple roads to four lanes divided by a median.
The city also wants to add exclusive left turns lanes at major intersections, like Blondo St.
Todd Pfitzer, Assistant Director of Transportation for the city says this project is meant to help alleviate congestion in the fast-growing area.
"This area, especially 168th and Blondo, well it's over capacity today. So we're experiencing some safety issues out here, some traffic cueing back from the major intersections. Basically a lack of space for the amount of traffic that's traveling through the area," says Pfitzer.
The two-year construction plan, which will create some detours and lane closures should eliminate more rear end collisions, according to Pfitzer.
"This will be great for Northwest Omaha. It's going to improve the efficiency, improve the safety, and help move that traffic and create better & safer gaps to get in & out, it'll reduce rear end collision," says Pfitzer.
The project will be conducted in two phases, focusing first on the portion of 168th St. from Blondo to Maple, then constructing from Dodge St. to Blondo as funding becomes available.
The project is currently still in its planning phases, but Pfitzer says changes will already begin in 2017 as utility companies start to relocate utilities. Construction is anticipated to begin in 2018 or 2019, after street improvements are completed on 180th and 156th streets.
The city says dates for road or lane closures have not been determined, but will have another public meeting after the plan is finalized and a contractor is hired to lead the project to let the public know of any detours that could affect their commute.
For more information on this project, you can visit the Keep Omaha Moving website.