YORK, POLK, BUTLER COUNTY, Neb. — A revived highway expansion, initiated almost forty years ago, could soon come to fruition.

In 1988, the Nebraska Expressway System was designed to connect Nebraska with over 600 miles of expressway.

Almost 40 years later, over 400 miles of expressways have been completed connecting cities like Columbus to Norfolk and Lincoln to Wahoo.

One of the final projects to be completed is the 41 mile stretch of highway from York to Columbus.

“It was a major undertaking to build the expressways. I believe they were trying to connect all the first class cities in the state to a four-lane facility,” NDOT District 4 Engineer Wesley Wahlgren said. “This will be one of the last ones.”

The planned expressway starts near the Highway 34 and 81 junction near York and moves north to the junction between Highway 64 and 81 just south of Columbus, where it will connect with an existing four-lane road.

The anticipated roadway would run through communities like Stromsburg, Osceola, and Shelby along Highway 81.

“When we get to communities, we’re planning on going to a three lane section through the communities,” Walhgren said. “So Stromsburg, Osceola, and Shelby will be three lane sections.”

Walhgren said Stromsburg is already under contract to build a three-lane section but Shelby and Osceola would have to build the three-lane through the town.

The project is estimated to cost $400 to $450 million depending on federal and state funding.

According to NDOT, relocations for businesses and residents are anticipated for the project.

Three informational hearings are set in Shelby on Tues. March 12, Osceola on Wed. March 13, and York on Thurs. March 14 all starting at 5:00 p.m.

Information on the project or anyone with a public comment should visit NDOT’s website.

Public comments can be made until March 29, 2024.

A public hearing is tentatively scheduled for fall 2024 and construction could begin as early as fall 2028.