Experience pays in road construction
When it comes to highway construction projects, familiarity breeds speed, quality and efficiency. At least, so it seems in McCook, where District 7 of the Nebraska Department of Roads is teaming with contractors to complete another important link in the rebuilding of the community's in-town highways.
Exactly on schedule, Paulsen, Inc. and the sub-contractors are on pace to complete the East Fourth to East Seventh Street segment of the highway by -- or before -- the Fourth of July weekend.
"All the paving's done on both sides of the highway," said Kurt Vosburg, district construction engineer. "All that's left is pouring a couple of alleys, finishing four or five driveways and getting the sidewalks done."
Also -- before the current project is completed -- the contractor will be bringing in a "diamond grinder" to smooth out bumps in the new pavement. "We do that before painting the lane lines," Vosburg said.
The East Fourth to East Seventh segment will complete a $3.2 million project which started in March of 2003. The first phase was completed last year, with construction crews putting in all-new pavement between West Fourth Street and East Fourth Street. That was the most-watched portion of the project since it passed through the heart of McCook's downtown business district.
All together -- between 1994 and 2006 -- highway improvements costing in excess of $14 million will span McCook from east to west and north to south.
The work started in 1994 and 1995, with a $5.5 million project that improved north highway 83 and extended pavement to the Wal-Mart Super Center on the city's west edge. The second phase in 2000 extended the new pavement from West 11th to West Fourth at a cost of $2.7 million.
Then -- to bring us to the present -- the $3.2 project began in 2003 to extend the new paving from West Fourth to East Seventh.
To bring the massive, 12-year long highway rebuilding to conclusion, the Department of Roads is scheduled to let bids this winter for a project stretching from East Seventh to just past Airport Road.
Work on that portion -- the final segment -- is targeted to start in the Spring of 2005 and to be completed by or before the Summer of 2006.
The highway construction has been, and continues to be, a major, major undertaking. Yes, there have been inconveniences, especially for retail businesses alongside the highway. But, in the long run, the projects will give McCook one of the most modern through-town highway systems in Greater Nebraska.