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An inside look at Grand Island traffic

An inside look at Grand Island traffic


Like any other city, Grand Island sometimes has cars lined up bumper-to-bumper.

Just take a look at Stuhr Road on a weekday afternoon at 2:45 p.m., when JBS employees leaving work pour out onto Highway 30.

Highway 281 can also get busy. In addition, cars can get stacked up around schools.

When the Dunkin’ location opened recently, cars backed up onto Second Street.

That doesn’t happen just with new restaurants.

I’ve seen drivers on Webb Road waiting to turn into KFC. That can make for some creative traffic maneuvers.

Cars also get backed up at Runza on cold winter Tuesdays.

One trouble spot is the area between Casey’s General Store and Taco John’s on South Locust. The drive-through exit is close to one of the entrances to Casey’s parking lot. When cars pull out of the Taco John’s drive-through, they have to be wary of vehicles pulling into the Casey’s lot.

Starbucks isn’t the only place where you see motorists waiting in line.

Especially on sunny days, people wait to have their car washed.

Occasionally, you see motorists waiting to pay their utility bills at the customer service center on Third Street.

Sometimes it seems that half the cars tooling down Second Street turn into McDonald’s or Burger King.

The steady traffic is the reason that left turns are not permitted when coming onto Second Street from Walgreens and McDonald’s.

Regardless of the street, drivers sometimes make last-second decisions to pull into a restaurant parking lot. Those sudden moves are a good reminder that drivers need to stay alert.

Here’s how to tell the difference between visitors and Grand Island residents: People who live here know, when driving under the Eddy Street underpass, to stay right if you want to go straight.

Another traffic observation: Walking downtown, you notice quite a few trucks hauling livestock eastbound on Highway 30. The whiff you get is the smell of money.

I’ve found, at 5:30 or 6 p.m., it’s very difficult to turn south onto Broadwell or Blaine. If I’m traveling from Koenig or Anna, it can take awhile to turn left there. As I wait, an amazing number of cars turn in front of me, heading home. As usual, I’m going against the flow.

You’ve also got to be careful on the road behind FNBO, U-Save Pharmacy, Scooter’s and Sonic, parallel to South Locust. I sometimes encounter trouble heading into the Silverwood at Stolley Park parking lot. Once you’ve had one car tear in front of you, you always have to be on the lookout for another lunatic — err, driver — who’s quite comfortable with the area.

This brings us to the Old Potash and Claude Road paving improvement project. That work has been going on for quite awhile, but you can see they’re making progress. If you haven’t been out there lately, we have more roundabouts than you might realize.

I’m slow to pick up on things. But I finally figured the best way to get from Highway 34 to 30 — Shady Bend Road. It took me only six years to figure that out.

Someday, maybe I’ll learn not to pull out onto northbound 281 when I have to quickly turn left onto Old Potash.

But I’m not sure I’ll ever get comfortable with Stolley Park Road on the west side of 281, where Stolley intersects with Old Highway 30. The signs say “Right turn permitted without stop” and “Opposite traffic may not stop.” Regular drivers don’t have to think twice, but visitors to town have to think more than twice.

Another area where you have to be careful is a church parking lot.

After spending an hour talking about loving our neighbors, some drivers seem to be in a rush to get to Tommy’s, Lee’s or Perkins.

Jeff Bahr is a reporter for The Independent. He may be reached at

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