Drivers dodge ‘road closed’ barricades, endanger construction workers

Posted at 11:10 AM, Jun 25, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-25 13:10:08-04

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    BELLEVUE, Ne (WOWT) — This entrance to the bridge on Highway 34 East over the Missouri River is heavily trafficked – semi after semi haul dirt to dump into that large levee breach.

The problem is pedestrian vehicles are ignoring this road closed sign, putting everyone on the stretch of highway in danger.

“This road is closed,” said Jim Laughlin, Nebraska DOT Highway Maintenance Superintendent – Omaha Division.

More than three months after the Heartland flood broke a levee at the Platte River tributary just south of Bellevue, crews are out daily trying to get the hole plugged.

“They’re trying to restore the levee and it’s kind of an important thing right now,” said Laughlin.

Laughlin says the road to recovery from the flood is proving bumpy as drivers continues to dodge road closed barricades off Hwy 34.

It’s a dangerous situation because big trucks are working, hauling dirt to unload, only to find cars headed straight for them.

“There’s only one lane in and out and you’re sharing it with a semi that’s either loaded or unloaded and either way they’re in a hurry to go get another load and move on,” said Laughlin.

Sarpy County dispatch tells 6 News, they received at least four complaint calls, Monday, from construction workers at the site on Hwy 34 of pedestrian vehicles disobeying the construction barricades and barreling right through.

“We had numerous calls over the weekend about people cutting around the road closed signs,” said Laughlin.

From east over the bridge into Glenwood and back west down the hill into Bellevue we spotted several cars disregarding plenty of orange – ignoring all the signs.

Our camera caught a few violators in just an hour’s time.

The driver of a red truck thought better of it, staring down a charging semi through his front windshield.

“A semi is coming the other way is meeting you and he’s not looking for any passenger vehicles.”

Sarpy County dispatch reported three other calls from construction workers over the weekend complaining about drivers dodging barricades.

Laughlin tells 6 News, he expects the Nebraska State Patrol or the Sarpy County Sheriff’s Office to step in and help crack down on violators soon.

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