Transportation Plan


The Transportation Plan identifies the current and future improvements to the transportation system for Red Willow County.  The implementation of this Plan during the planning period will result in the continued safe movement of people and vehicles within Red Willow County.  Across the country, communities are becoming actively involved in enhancing the connections between transit and local quality of life.


Transportation Planning and Land Use

Land use and transportation create the pattern for future development.  An improved or new transportation route generates a greater level of accessibility and determines how adjacent land may be utilized in the future.  In the short term, land use shapes the demand for transportation.  However, new or improved roads or county and state highways may change land values, thus altering the intensity of which land is utilized.


The adequacy of a community’s transportation and circulation system will have a substantial impact on the rate and pattern of its future growth and development.  To ensure the circulation system is able to expand efficiently and remain consistent with the Future Land Use Plan careful, long-range planning efforts are required.  The transportation and circulation needs depend upon how closely the County road network can be matched to the existing land use pattern.


In general, the greater the transportation demands for a particular land use, the greater the need for a site near major transportation facilities.  Commercial activities are most sensitive to accessibility since their survival often depends upon the ease potential buyers have traveling to the location.  In this case, accessibility refers not only to the distance, which must be driven but also to the ease with which the particular site can be found and convenient parking.  Thus, commercial land uses are generally located near the center of their market area along highways or at the intersection of arterial streets.  The clustering of commercial uses is also an advantage because it creates an image, which is more easily remembered and because it allows the joint use of parking facilities.


Industrial uses are also highly dependent on transportation access, but in a different way. For example, visibility is not a great concern for an industry compared to a retail store. Industrial uses often need access to more specialized transportation facilities, such as railroad lines or highways.


The primary sources of information utilized in the development of the Transportation Plan were Red Willow County’s One and Six Year Plan, and the State of Nebraska Highway Program One and Five Year Plan.


The One and Six Year Plan for Red Willow County is reviewed and adopted by the County Board of Commissioners to address the issues of proposed road and street system improvements and development.  Upon approval of these plans by the Nebraska Board of Public Road Classifications and Standards, Red Willow County is eligible to receive highway-user revenue from the State Highway Department.


The One and Five Year Plan, developed by the Nebraska Department of Roads, establishes present and future programs for development and improvement of state highways.  The one-year plan includes highway projects scheduled for immediate implementation, while the five-year plan identifies highway projects to be implemented within five years or possibly sooner if scheduled bids and work for one-year projects cannot be awarded and constructed.


Both sources of information listed above are developed as a guide for governmental units to use when making decisions on future transportation projects.


Street and Road Classification System

All of the public highways, roads, and streets in Nebraska are divided into two broad categories, and each category is divided into multiple functional classifications.  The two broad categories are Rural Highways and Municipal Streets.  State statute defines Rural Highways as “all public highways and roads outside the limits of any incorporated municipality,” and Municipal Streets as “all public streets within the limits of any incorporated municipality.” Neb. Rev. Stat. § 39-2102 (RRS 1997)


The functional classifications are used to define typical traffic patterns and jurisdictional responsibility.  The functional classifications for Rural Highways are defined by state statute as follows:

§         Interstate, which shall consist of the federally designated National System of Interstate and Defense Highways;

§         Expressway, which shall consist of a group of highways following major traffic desires in Nebraska which rank next in importance to the National System of Interstate and Defense Highways.  The expressway system is one which ultimately should be developed to multilane divided highway standards;

§         Major Arterial, which shall consist of the balance of routes which serve major statewide interests for highway transportation.  This system is characterized by high-speed, relatively long distance travel patterns;

§         Scenic-Recreation, which shall consist of highways or roads located within or which provide access to or through state parks, recreation or wilderness areas, other areas of geographical, historical, geological, recreational, biological, or archaeological significance, or areas of scenic beauty;

§         Other Arterial, which shall consist of a group of highways of less importance as through-travel routes which would serve places of smaller population and smaller recreation areas not served by the higher systems;

§         Collector, which shall consist of a group of highways which pick up traffic from many local or land-service roads and carry it to community centers or to the arterial systems. They are the main school bus routes, mail routes, and farm-to-market routes;

§         Local, which shall consist of all remaining rural roads, except minimum maintenance roads; and

§         Minimum Maintenance, which shall consist of (a) roads used occasionally by a limited number of people as alternative access roads for areas served primarily by local, collector, or arterial roads, or (b) roads which are the principal access roads to agricultural lands for farm machinery and which are not primarily used by passenger or commercial vehicles.

Neb. Rev. Stat. § 39-2103 (RRS 1997) (emphasis added).


The statute goes further by stating that certain rural highways classified under subdivisions (1) to (3) of section 39-2103 “should, combined, serve every incorporated municipality having a minimum population of one hundred inhabitants or sufficient commerce, a part of which will be served by stubs or spurs, and along with rural highways classified under subdivision (4) of this section, should serve the major recreational areas of the state.”  Sufficient commerce is defined in Neb. Rev. Stat. § 39-2103 as “a minimum of two hundred thousand dollars of gross receipts under the Nebraska Revenue Act of 1967.” In other words, every incorporated municipality with a population of 100 or greater, or one that has sufficient commerce, should be served by either (1) an Interstate, (2) an Expressway, or (3) a Major Arterial.  All major recreation areas of the state should be served by any of these three rural highways, or by a Scenic-Recreation highway.


The functional classifications for Municipal Streets are defined by state statute as follows:

§         Interstate, which shall consist of the federally designated national system of interstate and defense highways;

§         Expressway, which shall consist of two categories: Extensions of Rural Expressways and some Additional Routes which serve very high volumes of local traffic within urban areas;

§         Major Arterial, which shall generally consist of extensions of the rural major arterials which provide continuous service through municipalities for long-distance rural travel. They are the arterial streets used to transport products into and out of municipalities;

§         Other Arterial, which shall consist of two categories: Municipal Extensions of Rural Other Arterials, and Arterial Movements Peculiar to a Municipality's Own Complex, that is streets which interconnect major areas of activity within a municipality, such as shopping centers, the central business district, manufacturing centers, and industrial parks;

§         Collector, which shall consist of a group of streets which collect traffic from residential streets and move it to smaller commercial centers or to higher arterial systems; and

§         Local, which shall consist of the balance of streets in each municipality, principally residential access service streets and local business streets. They are characterized by very short trip lengths, almost exclusively limited to vehicles desiring to go to or from an adjacent property.

Neb. Rev. Stat. § 39-2104 (RRS 1997) (emphasis added).


The State of Nebraska has jurisdictional responsibility for all roads classified as interstate, expressway, and major arterial under the Rural Highway classification, and all roads classified as interstate under the Municipal Streets system.  The state also has jurisdictional responsibility over any connecting links that connect interstate roads with the nearest existing state highway.


Scenic-Recreation roads remain under jurisdiction of the governmental subdivision that had jurisdiction prior to the time the road was designated as Scenic-Recreation.  Neb. Rev. Stat. § 39-2105 (4) (RRS 1997).


Existing Transportation System

The primary transportation system in Red Willow County is U.S. Highway 6/34 (Major Arterial) which runs east west through the middle portion of the county. The other east west connector in Red Willow County is Nebraska State Highway 89 located in the southeast portion of the county. U.S. Highway 83 runs north south through the western edge of the county connecting Interstate 80 to the north and Kansas to the south. There are various other transportation routes utilized within the county either paved or gravel roads. The transportation network is adequate for communities and residents of the County, as well as, individuals traveling through Red Willow County.


The Transportation Classification Map (Figure 14) for Red Willow County has been reproduced for use in this Comprehensive Development Plan for transportation planning purposes and to assist in locating land uses where adequate transit infrastructure is accessible. Figure 14 identifies all categories of the classification system that are evident in Red Willow County.  All communities and rural areas within the County are serviced by a combination of roads and highways that are identified as Major Arterial or Minimum Maintenance.


Red Willow County Transportation Improvements

The County’s’ “One and Six-Year Plan” outline projects the County has targeted for completion in the next six years.  The tentative timeline for the One-Year Plan will end on February 15, 2002 and the Six-Year Plan projects will end February 15, 2007.  In the One-Year Plan, 12 projects were identified.  The Six-Year Plan identified 17 projects, 12 of which are identified in the One-Year Plan.  This Plan was developed during 2001 and new transportation improvement projects will be added as the need is identified.  Annual examination of this section should occur and amendments to the Plan may be required. Figure 15 illustrates these projects in detail.


Table 28: One and Six Year Transportation Plan

Red Willow County, 2000

Source:  Red Willow County, Form 8, Form 9, 2001


Nebraska Department of Roads Improvements

The Nebraska Department of Roads publishes an annual list of proposed projects for the current fiscal year, for fiscal years one to five years from the present, and six years and beyond.  Red Willow County is located in the Department of Roads’ District 7 Highway Program area.


At the time this Plan was completed, the Nebraska Department of Roads had several projects identified for Red Willow County. There are three projects scheduled in the One to Five-Year Program and five projects scheduled for the 6 years and beyond. The one to five projects include urban road upgrades and a bridge deck overlay. The 6 years and beyond projects include roadway resurfacing, bridge deck overlay, and bridge widening.