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Asking for a break: Neighbors say they've seen enough and want change at Douglas County intersection

Neighbors said the intersection of 222nd Street and Highway 275 has been dangerous for years. Now, they want change.
Posted at 6:26 PM, Jun 03, 2024

DOUGLAS COUNTY, Neb. (KMTV) — From honking to speeding to crashes, neighbor Yayle Roncka said he's seen it all at 222nd St. and Highway 275. In fact, our crew almost did too.

That's video of a near collision while KMTV was shooting video for this story about neighbors fears about this intersection.

"When you hear metal crunching, you come out here and you see cars literally torn in half," said neighbor Yayle Roncka. "I've seen accidents where I can't believe some people have walked away from."

Roncka and other neighbors like Alan Butler have tried to get a stop light installed at the intersection for several years. Right now, it's controlled by a flashing yellow light for east-west drivers and a stop sign for north-south drivers.

"Scary. Frustrating. Last time I pulled out, there were nine cars trying to get across. One car tried to turn and that just limits the time you can get across in between," said Butler.

Their attempts were unsuccessful because the Nebraska Department of Transportation said the intersection has poor visibility and does not meet traffic volume standards. According to stats from the Douglas County Sheriff, there have been 25 crashes here since 2018, an average of about four a year. The office said it's not out of the ordinary.

"I want this fixed," said Roncka. "If we need to put lights up, put lights up."

"Something needs to happen because it's getting worse, not better," he said.

The growth happening in western Douglas County could bring good news. NDOT tells KMTV the intersection will be a part of a future intersection improvement project, which includes an evaluation of traffic patterns to see if there's a better way to control how cars and trucks move through here.

NDOT said the intersection improvement project at 222nd and Highway 275 is anticipated to start in 2027.