KEARNEY, Neb. — East Kearney and the Great Platte River Road Archway Monument will be directly accessible to Interstate 80 travelers this week.
The east Kearney interchange/bypass is scheduled to open at 7:30 a.m. Tuesday, said Nebraska Department of Roads construction technician Kent Washington. A ribbon-cutting ceremony will be at 10 a.m. at the arch.
Washington said the exit will open even though not all of the project will be completed.
A barrier wall will be built around the bridge supports in the median, and a fence will be raised along the south side of the exit to discourage wildlife from crossing the Interstate. These final steps will complete phase one of the $37 million project.
Construction on the first phase of the three-phase project began in 2011. Work on the overpass was suspended for the winter. Construction resumed in March with crews completing concrete work on the overpass, then paving a four-lane road from the Interstate north past 11th Street and extending First Street to the archway.
Washington said a special barrier mound was built along the south side of the bypass and southern exit ramps to deflect car headlights from shining on migrating and nesting cranes.
The final two phases of the bypass project will extend the four-lane road and build a U.S. Highway 30 interchange and overpass. The four-lane road, to be designated as Highway 10, will allow traffic to circumvent Kearney or enter town on any of the main east-west routes. The project is expected to be completed in 2016.