City of Lincoln
2004 Media Releases
Mayor Coleen J. Seng today announced that traffic on North 16th and North 17th streets near the UNL campus will switch from paired one-way streets to two-way streets beginning Friday, February 13, weather permitting. This change is necessary for construction of the Antelope Valley Project.
The waterway will cause North 17th Street to be permanently closed for one block south of "Y" street, and a new street, called the "Y" Street Connector, has been built from North 17th west to North 16th just north of Nebraska Hall. Traffic headed north on North 17th will turn west on the "Y" Street Connector and then proceed north on North 16th. North 16th, which curves into Holdrege Street, will be two-way from the "Y" Street Connector to the intersection with North 17th. North 17th will be two-way from the existing “Y” Street to its intersection with Holdrege. A map and other information is available on the City web site at lincoln.ne.gov.
"This is a major shift in traffic patterns, and safety is our first priority," said Mayor Seng. "We urge drivers to be cautious and courteous as everyone adjusts to the changes. We understand these changes may take time to get used to, but they are necessary for this important project to move forward."
The Antelope Valley Project includes transportation improvements, stormwater management and community revitalization. Project partners are the City of Lincoln, the Lower Platte South Natural Resources District and the University of Nebraska. The improvements now under way are scheduled to take six to ten years to complete. The roadway and flood channel projects will include the construction of 12 bridges and 6.2 miles of new roadway. By reducing traffic congestion and the threat of flooding, the project is expected to attract private investments in housing, retail and office developments.
The first community revitalization project, Northeast Community Park at 33rd and Leighton, is nearing completion. Work is under way to reconstruct Military Road, which will provide a new west entrance to State Fair Park. The first phase of the project’s flood control component along Antelope Creek from Salt Creek past the Devaney Sports Center to the railroad tracks has been completed. The traffic changes coming this month are necessary for continued extension of the flood channel waterway.
A new roadway and bridge are under construction from 17th Street north of Nebraska Hall running northeast to "Y" Street. That new road and bridge are scheduled to open October 1, 2004. Eventually a new north-south, six-lane street and railroad overpass will carry major traffic in the area and eliminate the delays and safety issues at the railroad crossing. North 16th and North 17th will carry a lighter load of local traffic.
"We currently have about 30,000 vehicles a day on North 16th and North 17th, which run through a very congested area of campus," said Wayne Teten, Antelope Valley Manager. "The Antelope Valley Project will lead to a safer campus for drivers and pedestrians."
An Antelope Valley Public Information Team has been established to communicate with the public as the project moves forward. An Antelope Valley Project link can be found on the home page of the City web site (lincoln.ne.gov) and will be updated frequently. An Antelope Valley Hotline has been set up at 458-5999 to take questions on the project. Mayor Seng also introduced a new safety mascot for the project -- Antelope Valley Andy.
"Local cartoonist Paul Fell created Andy, who is a little antelope character wearing an orange safety hat and vest," said Mayor Seng. "We know this project will cause some frustration for the public, so we created Andy to inject some humor. His main purpose, however, is to draw attention to the importance of safety as we move forward." Andy will also be used outside of Lincoln to inform visitors of traffic changes before they come to Lincoln for athletic tournaments and other events.
The next project to begin in March is the Vine Street project, which will include a new bridge and roadway construction from near 17th Street to 27th Street. Work will be done over a two-year period with some lane restrictions in 2004. The major paving will take place in 2005. All lanes will be open this fall to accommodate football traffic.