The Sarpy County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday unanimously approved a resolution to ask the state for the ability to decide where and when traffic signals should be placed on Highway 370.
Sarpy County is the fastest growing county in Nebraska, despite being the smallest county geographically. The latest estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau put Sarpy County’s population at more than 181,000, a 14.2% increase since 2010. That concentrated growth in residential, commercial and industrial development has created several traffic safety issues on Highway 370.
“This isn’t a control issue, this is a public safety issue,” said Sarpy County Commissioner Jim Warren. “Highway 370 is built to be a signalized road, but the signals aren’t there. With our size and at the rate Sarpy County is growing, we can’t afford to wait one or two years for a light to be installed.”
The Nebraska Department of Transportation is responsible for the state highways system, including the installation of traffic signals. The Board will ask the State of Nebraska to enter into an interlocal agreement that defers those decisions on Highway 370 to the Sarpy County Board of Commissioners.
“We aren’t pointing a finger at the Nebraska Department of Transportation … they’ve been very engaged in these discussions. But this board is willing to lean as far forward as we can to improve public safety. And that may eventually lead to them ceding the whole highway to us. I’d be in favor of that. It would allow the State to focus on Platteview Road, which could be a true southern bypass. That would benefit the entire metro area,” said Sarpy County Board Chair Don Kelly.