CONNECTSarpy projects includes paving and expanding 180th Street and Giles Road, as well as a new bridge on 180th Street over the BNSF Railway railroad tracks. (Olsson)
Drive across northwestern Sarpy County, the transformation is evident. Roads that were once narrow and gravel are being transformed, and an efficient, modern road network is taking shape.
“The CONNECTSarpy – West Sarpy road program is the largest package of road projects in county history. We’re transforming an entire section of the county that is already bursting with development,” said Sarpy County Board Chairman Don Kelly. “This is an aggressive effort, and it is well on the way to better connecting our residents to neighborhoods, schools and businesses.”
The latest Census figures show Sarpy County added about 32,000 people since 2010, making Sarpy the fastest growing county in the state. Much of that population growth is taking place in northwestern Sarpy County, and it’s showing no signs of slowing down.
The Gretna Public Schools' second high school is under construction at 180th Street and Cornhusker Road near Aspen Creek middle and elementary schools, and several new housing developments are taking shape along the 180th Street corridor.
To ensure the area is ready for the additional growth, Sarpy County is improving the roads in a 9-square-mile area between Harrison Street and Highway 370 from 168th to 204th Streets.
In 2020, most of Giles Road was paved from 168th to 204th streets, with a small section left to complete as crews reroute 180th Street. Work completed so far this year includes:
- More than three lane-miles of paving on 180th Street and Giles Road.
- Significant grading work on 180th Street, Cornhusker Road, Giles Road and the future Meridian Road
- Storm sewers installed throughout the project site.
- Retaining walls along 180th Street.
- A box culvert on 180th Street at Tiburon Creek.
- Construction on the 180th Street overpass over the BNSF Railway railroad tracks and South Papio Creek.
Taking on a project of this size – $65 million in construction costs alone – required Sarpy County to explore new ways of building and financing.
Last year, the Sarpy County Board of Commissioners selected Hawkins Construction Company to serve as Construction Manager/General Contractor for the West Sarpy road program. Sarpy County is the first entity in the state to build roads using this innovative model.
“The real benefit to using the Construction Manager/General Contractor model on this project is we have Hawkins to help coordinate all the moving parts, which will in turn help us get the entire project completed sooner,” said Sarpy County Engineer Dennis Wilson. “This is a massive project – 9 square miles – and it involves dozens of partners, so having Hawkins on board will cut down on construction time by 25 to 50 percent.”
To pay for the program, the Sarpy County Board earlier this year, authorized issuing $51.5 million in bonds.
Approximately $13.5 million of the $65 million budgeted program is complete.
“Issuing bonds for road construction makes financial sense for Sarpy County because we are able to tackle large-scale projects without having to raise our mil levy,” said Sarpy County Commissioner Jim Warren, who represents the CONNECTSarpy – West Sarpy area on the County Board. “The county's continued growth, stable cash reserves and Aaa bond rating all factored in to us getting a very competitive 1.6% interest rate on our bonds.”
The CONNECTSarpy – West Sarpy road program is on track to be done in the fall of 2023.
Upcoming key milestones
Fall 2021 –180th Street from Palisades Drive north to the Meridian Street intersection to the Giles Road intersection east to 174th Street will reopen. 180th Street south to Cornhusker Road will close for roadwork. Work will continue on Giles Road at the BNSF overpass.
Winter 2021 – Segments of Cornhusker Road will reopen, while Meridian Street and Giles Road east of 180th Street will remain closed.
Spring 2022 – 180th Street south of Cornhusker Road from Camelback Avenue to Highway 370 will close for construction, and a small segment of the new Lincoln Road near Gretna’s future high school will be built.
Summer 2022 – 180th Street will close from Cornhusker Road to Camelback Avenue and a roundabout will be built at 180th Street and Cornhusker Road.
Fall 2022 – 180th Street from Harrison Street to Highway 370 will be open to traffic so closures on 192nd Street can begin.
Winter 2022 – 192nd Street will close for widening from Giles Road to Lincoln Road, and a roundabout will be built at 192nd Street and Giles Road.
For more detailed information about what road closures and changes may affect you, visit CONNECTSarpy.com.
We encourage you to participate in the project’s next online public meeting at 5:45 p.m. Sept. 29 on CONNECTSarpy.com.
A map of the CONNECTSarpy - West Sarpy area. Current developments are shown in green. Future developments are shown in light blue. (Olsson)