Gretna city leaders say reducing the speed limit on a major Sarpy County highway would curb safety issues created by increased outlet mall traffic.
The Gretna City Council on Tuesday voted to send a letter to the Nebraska Department of Roads requesting the speed limit along Highway 6 between the south side of Gretna and Interstate 80 be dropped to 45 mph.
Currently, the stretch is posted at 55 mph.
In the letter, the council said traffic volumes caused by shoppers bound for the Nebraska Crossing Outlets and sports fans headed to Lincoln make it difficult for drivers to access the highway.
That, coupled with the highway's high speed limit, led the council to “believe this section of highway has become unsafe,” the letter said.
Council President Jason Stahr said the surge in traffic also makes the road dangerous for drivers trying to access subdivisions like Chestnut Ridge, which doesn't have a designated turn lane.
That will only get worse as development increases along the corridor, he said.
“My intent is to be more proactive,” Stahr said.
Lt. Randy Furby of the Sarpy County Sheriff's Office agreed lowering the speed limit could help as the area develops.
But citing problems along Highway 370 during the years-long widening project, he cautioned that reducing the speed could frustrate drivers.
“People were flying out there,” Furby said, referring to Highway 370 while it was under construction and had lower speed limits posted. “45 (mph) on a highway is a long, slow drive.”
The Roads Department has the final say because Highway 6 is a state highway.
The letter also asked the Roads Department to reduce the speed to 45 mph north of the Highway 6 and 370 intersection and to install a dedicated left-turn light for east- and westbound traffic at the Highway 370 and 204th Street intersection, which leads to Gretna High School.