The Nebraska Department of Roads (NDOR) will withdraw its application for a project that would have relocated 12 miles of Highway 12 near Niobrara.
The NDOR announced today it will withdraw the Highway 12, Section 404, permit application for Alternate A7 east and west of Niobrara. According to documents, Alternative A7 would have impacted 91.9 acres of wetlands and cost $218 million.
In a letter to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps), Omaha District, Regulatory Division, the NDOR has requested that the permit application forwarded on September 11, 2015 be withdrawn.
Jo Cameron, who lives along Highway 12, said she received a call Friday morning from the NDOR telling her the news.
"I'm so happy they listened to us and appreciate it so much. I'm just in shock yet," she said. "I'm so grateful they listened to us. I was afraid if they didn't do it now, it would be hanging over our heads. I'm so grateful they listened to us and want to work with us."
According to a release from the NDOR, many comments received at a Nov. 9 public hearing on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement and NDOR’s Section 404 permit application.
"The public made it clear that an alternate solution should be sought," the NDOR said.
The public spoke about Alternative A7 and of hardships on landowners and current farm and ranch operations within the valley if it was pursued. The public also commented on the potential for shading, icing and snow removal challenges with any alternate located directly adjacent to the bluffs, according to the NDOR.
The NDOR said Alternative A7 would have shifted the existing highway south, within the Missouri River Valley, to a location along the earthen bluff. The project would have reconstructed about 12 miles of existing Highway 12 east and west of Niobrara and raise the highway elevation to provide a permanent transportation solution and protect it against future flooding.
The NDOR proposed to work with the Corps to find an alternative solution along existing Highway 12; one that would result in a safe and reliable transportation system that would solve the problem of reoccurring flooding along the existing highway.
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