The Columbus City Council has once again officially endorsed the much-talked-about Highway 30/64 Corridor Project.
The Council during its July 5th meeting reviewed and accepted a new resolution to reaffirm its support of the project, which aims to connect U.S. Highway 30 on the Platte County/Colfax County line by heading south and end on U.S. Highway 64 in Butler County. It would require the construction of an estimated 3,000-foot bridge over the river, along with another 100-foot bridge to get across the south channel and either small bridges or box culverts on the north side.
A couple of years ago, the City of Columbus, as well as Platte, Colfax, Butler and Polk counties, entered into a formal interlocal agreement to finance a traffic study, which cost approximately $23,500 overall. The study was necessary to determine if the 30/64 connector was actually needed and would benefit the communities involved.
The proposal for the project dates back years ago, having been pushed by former state Sen. Arnie Stuthman, of Platte County, and subsequently led by a steering committee made of local business entities.
More recently, Platte County commissioned Columbus businessmen Dennis Hirschbrunner and Dennis Grennan, members of the Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce’s Transportation Committee, to lead efforts in a benefit-cost analysis of the project for the area that they have been sharing with area government agencies. They worked with the Nebraska Public Power District and Loup Public Power District and used data from the traffic study for the analysis.
The project could bring great benefit to the area in many ways, according to Grennan and Hirschbrunner. First, Grennan pointed to traffic flow as the project would reduce mileage and time for travelers while also improving safety by
reducing the number of vehicles on Highway 30/23rd Street through Columbus.
He then referenced economic development, noting it would vastly improve jobs and assets. Grennan cited Lost Creek Parkway as a comparable example, noting how many major businesses and public entities have built along that stretch of road since it came to fruition.
The same kind of development could transpire along the proposed corridor. Grennan told the Council back in May 2023 that development along this specific stretch of road would bring in an estimated $66 million to $204 million dollars a year in jobs over a 20-year span, noting that range is based on assuming developers along that corridor have manufacturing jobs.
The two Columbus men noted the project would likely also help bring more eyes to communities just outside of Columbus, such as Richland and Bellwood.
Then there’s flood impact. Hirschbrunner, Grennan and City Councilman Ron Schilling recalled the historic flooding that occurred in the area in March 2019 and how it presented various challenges because the water prevented people from driving in and out of Columbus for several days. This project could help prevent that from happening again, they noted during an early July discussion over coffee.
“Columbus is landlocked. This project would open things up,” Schilling said days before the meeting, noting he was in support of it. “So, this resolution is about us (the City Council) saying we want this project to continue on.”
Grennan and Hirschbrunner were at the July 5th City Council meeting and said they’re appreciative of the local government agency’s continued support of the project. The resolution, which you can read by clicking here, says the City has joined other area government agencies in supporting the project by providing partial funding for a transportation traffic study followed by a Benefit/Cost Analysis Study to determine viability of the project. It also states the City still supports the overall concept of the project and will:
-“Place the 30/64 Corridor Project Benefit/Cost Analysis on file”
-“Support the 30/64 Corridor Project Benefit/Cost Analysis concept of constructing the 30/64 Connector roadway system, and
- “Support Platte County continuing in the role as lead public agency in pursuing the next steps in securing a planning grant and related activities to further define the project”
Hirschbrunner and Grennan have been making the rounds meeting with area government officials. They said their intent is to also get reaffirmed support from Colfax, Butler and Polk counties in addition to the City of Columbus.
“If you support the concept of the 30/64 connector project, we would like a resolution that says we support continuing to pursue whatever opportunities we have,” Hirschbrunner said, as to why they’re meeting with area government agencies.
Grennan echoed that sentiment, stressing it will take all area government operations working together on this to get the Nebraska Department of Transportation to ultimately approve it and make it reality. will be a game-changing project
if and when it comes together, he said.