- Associated Press - Monday, May 30, 2016

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - Road planners are considering “super two” highways as a way to stretch Nebraska’s highway dollars.

The two-lane highways have wider shoulders and an extra passing lane every five miles or so.

Nebraska Roads Department engineers have said the design could increase traffic flow at less than half the price of a new four-lane highway: about $1.5 million per mile instead of $4 million per mile.

The goal is getting the most mileage out of about $1 billion in state road funding for new construction through 2033.

“Nebraska has far more transportation needs than dollars available,” department director Kyle Schneweis said in an email this month to members of a state transportation advisory group, the Lincoln Journal Star reported (https://bit.ly/1TQV1gJ ).

“Instead of the stark choice of either upgrading a two-lane road to a four-lane highway or providing no improvement at all, sometimes a Super 2 highway could provide an intermediate improvement with better paved shoulders and passing lanes every five miles,” Schneweis said.

The department hasn’t said where super twos might be used. Four-lane highways are still planned for U.S. Highway 275 from Norfolk to Fremont and U.S. Highway 81 from York to Columbus, said Khalil Jaber, the Roads Department’s deputy director for engineering.

However, working drafts of the Panhandle’s Heartland Expressway call for converting parts of U.S. Highway 385 into super twos from north of Alliance through Chadron and into South Dakota.

The department plans to hold public meetings in July before deciding how it will prioritize new highway projects.

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Information from: Lincoln Journal Star, https://www.journalstar.com

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