- Associated Press - Saturday, September 26, 2015

KEARNEY, Neb. (AP) - Skyrocketing costs have put the brakes on plans to build two central Nebraska reservoirs.

New estimates put construction of the dams and other work on the shallow reservoirs at $170 million - more than 2.5 times the original estimate of $63 million, the Kearney Hub reported (https://bit.ly/1gXJWLn ) Saturday. The estimate does not include the cost of acquiring land for the projects.

“Much of the work is on hold, in particular the negotiations with landowners,” said Mike Drain, a natural resources manager with the Central Nebraska Public Power and Irrigation District.

The district had planned to build and operate the reservoirs on the south side of the Platte River between Lexington and Overton to temporarily hold excess water for later releases back to the river when needed for threatened habitat and endangered birds.

The reservoirs would also allow the power district to operate its hydropower plant upstream more efficiently.

At Thursday’s Central Nebraska Public Power and Irrigation District board meeting in Grand Island, biologist Mark Czaplewski said the biggest factor in the jump in costs was an initial underestimation of the cost to line the reservoir.

The next step is for local officials and the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources to evaluate project alternatives that could fit the program’s budget.

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Information from: Kearney Hub, https://www.kearneyhub.com/


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