Take a drive on Harrison Street in West Omaha during morning or afternoon rush hour and you are guaranteed to see car after car after car.
As drivers head west on Harrison just beyond 144th, traffic merges, squeezing cars into one lane going in each direction. Driver Josh Petry said, " I can tell you it's congested. " Fellow driver Mike Pitzer added, "There are times you are just sitting in traffic, twenty or thirty minutes to go from one side of 156th to the other. "
However, that is about to change. Sarpy County along with the city of Omaha will spend $9 Million to widen Harrison from 144th to 157th to make it a four lane divided roadway. Sarpy County Project Manager Bill Herr showed Anchor Craig Nigrelli the plans. Construction will go from west to east. The first phase will be from 157th to 154th, starting in the Spring of 2018. Phase two is from 154th to 150th in 2019. The final leg is from 150th to 144th in 2020.
People living in roughly seven subdivisions will be affected. They are : Millard Oaks, Millard Park, Lebeau, Emerald Oaks, Birchfield, Stony Brook and Willow Creek. They will be allowed to weave through the construction zone to get to and from their homes. However, there not be so-called through traffic from 157th to 144th.
Detours will send drivers either north to Q or south to Giles. Drivers seem to be O-K with short term pain for long term gain. Driver Kristina Sunderman said, "It definitely needs it. This is a high traffic area. Millard is very sought after for the school district. Everyone is trying to move out here. I think overall it will be better for everyone's commute. " Project Manager Bill Herr urged drivers to " pay attention to the signs, know your detour and be patient. "
Planners will hold a public meeting in June to provide answers to neighbors who have questions. They have not yet set the exact time and place.