December 4, 2018 – The Heartland Expressway Association is a part of larger, multi-state alliance that extends from the Mexico-Texas border to the Montana-Canada border. The three federally designated high priority corridors (Ports to Plains, Heartland and Teddy Roosevelt) collectively are looking at the most effective way to approach Congressional representatives about future improvements on the route as a whole. Each state (with the exception of New Mexico) has some portion of the route needing to be expanded to 4 lanes. There is discussion about asking for ‘future Interstate’ designation.
In Nebraska there are many issues to be explored. The most pressing seems to be whether or not future
Interstate designation would have an impact on the traffic allowed. Right now, the designation is just on paper, without requirements from any agency (state of federal) to finish it to Interstate highway standards and regulation.
Ag equipment which currently travels on the Heartland Expressway in Nebraska might be further restricted if Interstate status is achieved. Access in general for nearby communities might be restricted to the point that the ‘cost’ outweighs the benefit. But one thing is certain. If we are not moving forward, we are surely moving backwards. HEA will consult with elected officials, experts from Washington, the Governor and the Director of NDOT before we sign on to any document that includes our portion of the Expressway.
We benefit from working with the other corridors, as a middle section of the whole corridor. What works in Nebraska may or may not work in other states, and vice versa. Our pledge to our supporting communities, businesses and organizations is to investigate the outcomes and choose what we believe is best (and possible) for the Nebraska portion of the corridor.
Deb Cottier, Chairman