By: Lauren Fabrizi
After a decade, the I-80 six-lane expansion project from Lincoln to Omaha is nearing completion. A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held Thursday on the westbound bridge near the Waverly Interchange.
"Today is a very special day," Gov. Dave Heineman said. "Today is a milestone, a major step forward for our state. And I'm just very, very excited."
Gov. Heineman said I–80 is the most well–traveled highway in Nebraska, making the $400-million project very critical for smoother transportation from Lincoln to Omaha, with mostly 75–mph traffic.
The project was built in seven segments, with the final stretch completed from N. 56th Street to the Waverly Interchange.
"Today is a great celebration when you do a puzzle of having that last piece in your hand ready to put it down and know you've completed the project," Carl Eskridge of the Lincoln City Council said.
Officials said the project will be good for commercial expansion and will provide a stronger connection between two of Nebraska's major cities. It will also make it safer for I–80 drivers.
And as an added bonus, Gov. Heineman said the expansion will also allow for easier game day travel.
"It couldn't have come at a better time," Gov. Heineman said. "It's going to open a couple weeks earlier than we thought. So that means when the Michigan State games come two weeks from now, we'll be ready to go for all that traffic coming from Omaha to Lincoln."
Construction officials said one lane on the westbound side of I-80 near the Waverly Interchange will be open by Friday night. They said all six lanes will be open in a couple weeks.