New segment of the Heartland Expressway is completed near Alliance

Oct. 17, 2022, 3 p.m. ·

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Gov. Pete Ricketts speaks at the opening of a new segment of the Heartland Expressway south of Alliance, NE

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A new stretch of the Heartland Expressway opened south of Alliance, Nebraska on Monday.

When completed, the Heartland Expressway will connect Rapid City, South Dakota and Denver via the Nebraska towns of Alliance and Scottsbluff. Gov. Pete Ricketts spoke at the opening ceremony Monday morning. Ricketts said the expressway holds a number of benefits for the Panhandle region.

“It will not only help economic development for cities here in the Panhandle, as well as trade, but also safety, convenience, and making the whole process of traveling through the Panhandle easier,” he said.

The new 14-mile, four-lane segment cost $32 million. Construction started in March 2021. It is also the newest step in a nearly 30-year journey. Alliance’s mayor, Mike Dafney, has been advocating for the project since 1993.

“Everything comes to he, or him, who waits. It’s been 29 years of waiting, so it’s quite the deal,” he said.

Dafney said he has served as mayor long enough to see the economic benefit the progress has brought so far.

“We have numerous new businesses that have located on the four-lane since it’s been completed right here south of town,” he said.

The businesses Dafney listed include Holiday Inn Express, Bomgaars, and Pepsi of Lincoln. He said more are likely to come as more of the expressway is constructed.

According to the Heartland Expressway website, the portion connecting Alliance and Scottsbluff is fully funded and will be completed in the next five years. Another two-lane segment connecting Alliance to the South Dakota border is fully funded for design.