FINDING A DETOUR: Motorists will need to take detour routes north of Alvo a little longer than originally scheduled. Highway 63 construction did not wrap up this fall as expected. Intersections with county roads are open to local traffic, but the highway will remain closed until this summer. (Staff Photo by Lisa Brichacek)

ALVO – The road closed signs did not come down last November as planned and motorists traveling north of Alvo will need to find alternative routes until this summer.

Improvements to Highway 63 began in the fall of 2017, with the first phase of the project being south of Alvo. The second phase of the $11 million project involved work north of Alvo to Church road and was scheduled to be done by this past fall.

Nebraska Department of Transportation Project Manager Jesse De Los Santos said weather was the prime reason the second phase of the project could not be completed as scheduled.

“A lot of the reason is weather, a lot of wet soil,” he said. “We really couldn’t get it completed when it’s too wet.”

Knife River Construction has the contract for the project. A company representative was unavailable for comment last week, but the contractor did hold a community meeting in December to discuss the delays and continued detours.

De Los Santos said most of the grading work has been completed and even some of the foundation has been laid for the new pavement. However, paving and other work will be stalled until spring.

There may be a few items the contractor can do over the winter months, but that will all depend on weather conditions.

“There are some erosion control items that maybe can get done,” he said. “A lot of it depends on how think the frost is.”

The highway is closed to traffic, but De Los Santos said the crossing intersection with county roads are open to allow for local traffic. Temporary access has also been made to the Alvo Cemetery.

No specific completion date has been rescheduled. De Los Santos expected it would be early summer.

According to the Nebraska Department of Transportation’s website, the entire Highway 63 project includes realignment of the highway, culverts and box culverts and wetland mitigation.

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