State highway encroachment provisions advance

Senators advanced a bill April 27 pertaining to the use of state highways and right-of-ways for special events.

Current law gives the State Department of Roads complete authority over the use of, and any encroachments on, state highways or right-of-ways.

Papillion Sen. Jim Smith introduced LB589, a bill containing provisions for the temporary use of highways and right-of-ways. A Transportation and Telecommunications Committee amendment replaced the original provisions of the bill and would allow a county, city or village temporary use of the state highway system, other than a freeway, that is located within their jurisdiction for special events.

The amendment, adopted 40-0, also would hold the county, city or village liable if damages or injuries occur during the event.

Smith said events are held on highways in Papillion that attract people from other states and countries and create pride in the community. The criteria for state highway encroachments depends largely on input from the local engineer, he said, so permission to use the roads has been granted inconsistently.

LB589 advanced from general file on a 41-0 vote.

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