The Lincoln County commissioners met in closed session Monday to discuss right-of-way negotiations for the long-delayed reconstruction of South River Road.
South River Road washed out in 2015 and is still closed more than four years later, even though plans are drawn and approved to rebuild the road farther south.
Obtaining the permits and drawing up the plans took years and required an environmental assessment.
Reconstruction appeared to be getting off dead center in the spring when the commissioners set a date to take bids on the project, but then the board found out the right-of-way agreement had expired on the land they needed.
That put the project back on the shelf, where it remains.
Last week, the commissioners agreed to hire Jim Bain Appraisers of North Platte to provide the value the property easement. And this week, the commissioners authorized Chairman Joe Hewgley to negotiate a deal with the property owners, Char-Mar-Long, LTD, and bring it back to the board for full approval.
According to previous cost estimates, the Federal Emergency Management Agency is contributing about $290,000 to the project, which should cover at least 85% the projected costs, County Road Supervisor Carla O’Dell said.
The new road is planned to be about 345 feet south of the original road and be 0.8 miles long.
Dawson Public Power District crews have already reset the power lines along the road back in the original right-of-way from the temporary route to the south. The lines are supported by double poles where they span a longer-than-normal gap above the washed out road.
Lincoln County officials have blamed the delay on bureaucracy and cumbersome agreements. They said six agencies had to sign off on the plans to rebuild the road. Two agencies are federal – FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Nebraska Game and Parks, the state historical society and Lincoln County also had to agree to the plans.
The Nebraska Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) also plays a hand in preparations.