In The News

Norfolk Daily News: Fortenberry tentatively secures $20 million in funds for Highway 275

Jun 14, 2021
In The News

Looking to capitalize on the momentum that the Highway 275 expansion project has gained recently, U.S. Rep. Jeff Fortenberry has sponsored legislation that would authorize federal funds for the unfinished segment of the expansion between Norfolk and Wisner.

Fortenberry said late Thursday afternoon that the surface transportation bill is out of committee and includes $20 million for the Highway 275 stretch between Norfolk and Wisner.

“I am happy to do so,” Fortenberry said. “It is so sorely needed.”

Fortenberry said the this area is one of the most productive agricultural areas in the country.

“It has one of the highest concentrations of beef cattle production and grain crops. We also have significant manufacturing, particularly in the Norfolk area. It is heavily traversed, bad conditions, needing enhanced safety measures. This is the right thing to do,” he said.

Highway 275 from Norfolk to Fremont has long been an identified corridor critical to the economic growth of Northeast Nebraska. More than 20 years ago, the portion from Norfolk to 13 miles east was expanded.

Earlier this year, the Nebraska Department of Transportation awarded the construction of three segments of the long-delayed Highway 275 expansion to Koss Construction of Topeka, Kansas, for a combined $83.2 million.

The three segments are Scribner North for $37,772,493; West Point South for $18,546,966; and West Point North for $26,894,819.

Fortenberry said he hopes this latest segment can build upon the momentum of those segments. Construction on the West Point and Scribner segments is scheduled to begin this summer and is expected to open to traffic in the spring of 2024.

“Obviously if we could build four-lane highways everywhere, we should do that,” he said, “but there are cost considerations.”

This Norfolk area, however, is heavily traveled, heavily used by local communities and provides a needed route for commerce, Fortenberry said.

There are some complexities with the legislation, but Fortenberry said there is a “pretty good chance” of getting it passed. Debate could begin as early as July.

“This is long overdue,” Fortenberry said. “I am so grateful for the patience of the community and I want to give a shout out to Josh Moenning as well — your mayor. He has been a stalwart in leading the process here — patiently but persistently — in making sure this is a priority for Northeast Nebraska.”

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