Permanent Highway 281 Bridge Over Niobrara River Opens After March 2019 Flooding

Oct. 23, 2020, 4:38 p.m. ·

(Photo Courtesy Nebraska Department of Transportation)

The Nebraska Department of Transportation, Governor Pete Ricketts, and residents of Spencer, Nebraska recently celebrated the opening of a permanent Highway 281 bridge over the Niobrara River. The opening marks a milestone in Nebraska’s recovery from historic flooding in March 2019.

When Nebraska closed over 3,000 miles of its Highway System due to flooding, one of the hardest areas hit was around the town of Spencer. The Highway 281 bridge washed away after an ice jam broke the town’s dam open, killing one person.

The state spent over $25 million dollars to build a temporary bridge last July 2019 and a permanent one this year. Prior to the temporary bridge, residents had to take a 127-mile detour to cross the river.

Governor Ricketts said Nebraska has come far with recovery but there are two more projects left to be completed.