History of North Omaha Freeway

Originally envisioned as an interstate highway to connect I-480 with I-680, the North Freeway is of the most controversial street projects in Omaha history. By developing a major highway through the heart of North Omaha, the government physically sliced Omaha’s historically African American neighborhood in half, leaving a legacy of controversy and discrimination continuing today. This is a history of the North Freeway in Omaha.

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2 thoughts on “History of North Omaha Freeway”

  1. Here’s what I recall while growing up in Omaha. Interstate 580 started at I-480 near Cummings and went only about a mile to Lake Street, where it went nowhere for what seemed like forever. I’m speculating 1969 to 1980. Then, it no longer carried the designation of I-580, was renamed the North Freeway, (US-75) and became what we have today. Sorenson for the most part was built on top of what was then the abandoned C&NW Railroad line, which already divided the neighborhood from 30th street to Irvington.

    You’re probably too young to remember the “Bridge to Nowhere.” This exited I-480 Eastbound as it approached 30th Street. It cross the North freeway, then 30th Street, and ended into the side of the hill. It stayed that way from the time it was built in the mid 1960s until it was removed in the Mid 1980s. It was explained to me that this was going to be I-280 aka the Cross Town Freeway. While I-80 would be mainly cross country, truck, and industrial traffic, the Cross Town would be mainly for commuters who lived “out west” and worked Downtown. The route was to more or less parallel Dodge the the Saddle Creek / Radial Highway Area, then northwest through Benson and on to the Irvington area. This would have no doubt cut through many prominent neighborhoods, and was shutdown pretty quickly, leaving only the Bridge to Nowhere.

    I’d love to hear your thoughts and observations.

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