Construction Crews Clearing Path to Nebraska State Fair

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With less than a week before the 2015 Nebraska State Fair, road construction crews are still working to make it easier to get there.

Nebraska Department of Roads and Grand Island Public Works officials both say they plan their projects around the fair and the traffic it brings.

But that doesn't mean all routes are clear.

Barricades are down at the Interstate 80/Highway 281 interchange, as promised.

"We'll have traffic delays and backups when we have major events going on in the community so we try to avoid working in those times if at all possible," said NDOR Project Manager Ben Merchant.

Crews finished east and westbound on-ramps Friday, in time to take a break for the fair and Husker Harvest Days.

It's the reason city crews will shut down work at Highway 34 and Locust Street on Thursday. Public Works Director John Collins said the road will be safe for drivers, but may require more work after the fair.

"If it wasn't for that, we'd probably stay out there a few more days," said Collins. "People from out of town don't know how to get around so you have a main road closed, there's a lot of confusion and then there's the safety of the workers."

But, Collins said some projects couldn't wait, like a drain that collapsed at the Sycamore Street underpass.

"We decided to go ahead and do it now rather than chance a big hole opening in the road in the winter when there's no way we could repair it," he said.

The underpass will close Tuesday near intersections already closed in G.I.’s downtown, like 3rd Street and Wheeler Avenue.

To the north, the intersection of Capital and Broadwell Avenues likely won't open until November thanks to delays, but officials don't expect it to impact fairgoers much.

"The traffic counts are such there's not a lot of traffic coming from the fair from there. The counts are very similar during the fair and during the normal school year," said Collins.

So, where is the traffic coming from?

"Anything coming from the interstate is heavily clogged, Stuhr [Road] not near as much. It could handle some more traffic. Entering the fair is a little more challenging on that side,” said Collins. “Locust [Street] is packed, Stolley Park [Road], Highway 34 and, to a lesser extent, Highway 281."

If you're planning on getting off the main roads a few more projects may impact you. To see the full list, click here.

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