Highway 75 sees more travelers, increase in accidents following flooding

Highway 75 sees more travelers, increase in accidents following flooding
Flooding at Highway 2 and Interstate 29 in Percival (Fremont County Emergency Management)

AUBURN –¬†Highway 2 and Interstate 29 are just two of the many roads closed due to recent flooding events. Now, Highway 75, that runs through Auburn, is seeing almost three times the amount of traffic it normally does. It’s causing local residents to worry.

“Look once, and then look again,” said Sarah Wilson, of Auburn.

Wilson was in a head-on collision on Highway 75 last February.
Now that all traffic from Highway 2 and Interstate 29 is being re-routed through Highway 75, she, along with Nebraska State Patrol, have seen a lot more people driving through her hometown.

“we’re seeing three to four times as many cars as we normally would,” said Sergeant Kaleb Bruggeman, with NSP. “Right now road conditions aren’t that bad, but it could cause a lot of wear and tear in the future.”

Highway 75 was never intended for that volume of traffic. It’s majority 2-lane highway all the way to the Kansas state line. But, with the Missouri River blocking off almost all exits out, traveling Highway 75 has become the main alternative route for many travelers. Said Bruggeman:

“From Plattsmouth, all the way to Kansas state line, all Missouri River bridges are closed. You are not able to cross the Missouri River anywhere south of Plattsmouth in Nebraska.”

NSP says its mainly responding to calls of speeding and illegal passing. It also says they’ve upped the number of troopers in that area to enforce safe driving.

Locals say, while this has had a positive impact on their economy, they’re worried drivers unfamiliar with the area will be extremely dangerous. With farmers frequenting the highways, and children getting out of school, one misstep on this highway could be fatal. Wilson told 1011 that Auburn re-routed buses to avoid Highway 75.

This week alone there have been four accident.. one of which was fatal…

“You could probably pick from anyone in this building and they’re probably going to have a Highway 75 story,” said Wilson, at the Lied Lodge in Nebraska City.

With no hard timeline for when the roads will be fixed, Wilson says she’s nervous for her community. Said Wilson:

“People are still trying to speed up and make their way to their destination, but they have to be aware that we’re a living breathing community and out and about and doing their normal, daily lives.”