Highway 281 Bridge

The Highway 281 bridge and approach were destroyed by the Spencer Dam failure on Thursday, March 14. Large chunks of ice remained on the roadway on Friday. 

OMAHA — Nebraska Department of Transportation (NDOT) announced today Hawkins Construction of Omaha has been awarded the contract to begin immediate work on the Highway 281 bridge over the Niobrara River south of Spencer.

The March 2019 flooding caused significant damage and washed out a segment of the highway just south of the bridge. The department has authorized the contractor to begin immediate work to install a single lane "shoofly" with a traffic signal to allow traffic to move through the construction zone temporarily while the bridge is being constructed.

The department anticipates the temporary roadway to be in service by Aug. 1.

The $25,470,887 contract covers the single lane temporary roadway and bridge as well as a permanent 1,050-foot bridge over the Niobrara River Channel. Hawkins Construction will begin work at the site on Tuesday, May 28 but has already begun the process of mobilizing equipment and materials.

The department estimates the permanent bridge to be open by November of 2020 with project completion anticipated to be spring of 2021.

“The Highway 281 project is one of the department’s most complex reconstruction efforts,” said NDOT Director Kyle Schneweis. “We’ve followed a very aggressive schedule through design and procurement in order to expedite construction and now we are looking at turning dirt less than a week after award of the contract. The Nebraska contracting and engineering industries have been great partners as we look to rebuild our transportation system following the 2019 flooding.”


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