BEATRICE – An application to a federal transportation grant program is close to being submitted by Gage County. Officials will try to tap the Rebuilding American Infrastructure With Sustainability and Equity Program….more commonly known as RAISE.

Gage County Supervisor Emily Haxby says a series of eight public input and outreach sessions have been completed…..the last of which was at Thursday night’s annual Township Association Meeting.

"What we are looking at putting in that grant is the Clatonia to DeWitt Road. What we'll do is mill down that road, recycle the millings, create a new base, Right now it's two eleven-foot lanes...we would go to two twelve-foot lanes, which is the new standard....with nine-inch doweled concrete. We did look into creating shoulders within our existing right-of-ways and we can add and make four-foot shoulders instead of two-foot it should make that easier for transportation. We would look at replacing the two bridges east of DeWitt and the one south of Clatonia with unrated bridges."

Haxby said the county is also wanting to extend paving farther west on Hickory Road.  "We would use the excess millings to create a base. We would overlay that with nine-inch doweled concrete with a four-foot shoulders...which would connect Highway 77 to Highway 103. Some of the outreach input we got was to add turn lanes. So we would add a turn lane, working with the state, off Highway 77 southbound onto Hickory....and then overhead lights for nighttime visualization of that intersection, as well as adding two turn lanes on Highway 103, with again, lights over that intersection."

The Biden-Harris Administration program is providing a total of $1.5 billion in transportation support across the nation during 2024, through the competitive grant program. The City of Beatrice is also applying for a RAISE grant for the proposed Court Street Corridor project in the city’s downtown area.

Haxby says the State of Nebraska has helped the county in the application process. Outreach meetings have been held by the county to provide support data in advance of the application, which is due February 28th.

"The nice part about the RAISE grant is that because we are a rural area, we qualify for 100-percent funding. It does not hurt our application to ask for 100-percent funding. They do recognize the tax burden on rural counties and rural areas."

The Clatonia, DeWitt and Hickory projects are estimated at about $25 million.  Haxby says county officials are also attempting to get federal support from a separate grant program for very large bridge projects in the county.