Farm Bureau - Melissa Wheeler

The North Bend Eagle



RCUT touted as safer, quicker alternative at 30-70 intersection

by Nathan Arneal
Published 8/18/21

An interchange with an overpass at the new intersection of highways 30 and 79 north of North Bend is not in the cards, but another alternative to prevent crashes may be.

Nebraska Department of Transportation District 2 Engineer Tim Weander attended the August meeting of the North Bend Area Chamber of Commerce to provide an update on local highway projects.

Weander said one option being considered for the future intersection of Highway 79 and the Highway 30 expressway a mile north of North Bend is a Restricted Crossing U-Turn, abbreviated as RCUT.

In the example illustrated in the graphic on this page, Highway 79 would be the vertical road with the Highway 30 expressway running left-right.

Traffic on Highway 79, in this example coming from the south, would be unable to pass straight through the intersection. Instead, it would turn right, then merge into the left lane, then merge again into a left turn lane. The vehicle would then U-turn onto the westbound lanes of traffic and either continue west or turn right to proceed north. Extra concrete would be added at the U-turn site to aid larger trucks and semis in making the U-turn.

Weander said a similar RCUT was installed last year near Humphrey at the intersection of highways 81 and 91, a crossing that has very similar traffic numbers to what 79/30 sees. Weander said that was a dangerous intersection that saw many collisions, but the city of Humphrey was initially against an RCUT.

“The city was not at all pleased with this alternative,” Weander said. “They wanted traffic signals. They wanted an interchange. They wanted a roundabout. But this seems to be working and they’re very happy with it, from what we’re understanding now. The traffic crashes have been reduced to zero, I think.”

Weander said an RCUT is considerably cheaper than an overpass interchange, costing just under $1 million compared to $6 million for an interchange, and it’s safer than adding stoplights.

North Bend mayor Rod Scott said he recently drove to Humphrey to take a look at the RCUT there.

“It sounds complicated, but it really isn’t,” he said. “When you see it, you think, shoot, this is nothing. It’s a great idea.”

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