Coping with ConstructionResources

Frequently Asked Questions

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What are some ways to cope through a construction project that affects my business?

Keeping in touch with project leadership, collaborating with neighbor businesses and aggressively communicating with your customers will help your business survive, and even thrive, through construction.

What is the most effective way to communicate my concerns during a construction project?

Your best avenue for communicating your concerns is to speak with the project leadership, usually the project manager or project inspector. They are responsible for overall project management, are keenly familiar with daily construction activities, and can respond to your questions and concerns. Project leadership and business operators who establish two-way communication are more aware of each other’s concerns and constraints, and each can make better-informed decisions.

It helps to be aware of some of the basic constraints project leaders are under when they plan and carry out a construction project. Safety to construction workers and the public is the overriding factor in making decisions on construction activities. Budget, schedule and impacts to motorists, pedestrians and all affected businesses are other factors that project leaders must weigh when they try to address individual concerns.

What can I expect during construction?

You could experience the following temporary inconveniences during construction:

  • Dust, dirt and mud.
  • Changes in access to your business.
  • Heavy equipment and noise.
  • Utility service interruptions.

These temporary inconveniences literally pave the way for a better system of roads and utilities to serve Lincoln’s citizens.

Will I be compensated for property impacts?

The City follows federal, state and local laws in compensating property owners and tenants for property impacts and relocation costs. Common examples of property impacts include the need for additional land (right-of-way) to make a street wider or the need for temporary access on private property during construction (easement). More information is available on the Urban Development Department’s Real Estate and ROW website at (keyword: urban) or call 402-441-7864.

Urban Development – Real Estate & ROW

Will my business be compensated for lost revenues that occur during a City construction project?

The City cannot compensate businesses for lost business revenues that occur during its construction projects. The Department of Transportation and Utilities’ foremost responsibility in using taxpayer dollars is to maintain and enhance the City’s infrastructure. It is this infrastructure of streets and utilities that enables businesses to operate and citizens to carry out their daily activities.

Revenue downturns can be one of the unfortunate repercussions to adjacent businesses. The inconveniences and hardships are temporary, yet necessary to achieve the long-term benefits of having road and utility systems that operate safely, effectively and efficiently for our citizens, including you and your customers, suppliers and employees.

If you operate a business in Lincoln, it is probably only a matter of time before a City construction project will affect you in some way. Having a "rainy-day" plan in place can help you cope during construction.

Can I post signs to direct customers to my business?

The City of Lincoln allows businesses to post temporary guide signs on City right-of-way. In most cases, this right-of-way is the land adjacent to the street curb.

For safety reasons, certain rules and regulations need to be followed in order to obtain permission to use these signs on public right-of-way. Sign designs and locations must be approved by the Department of Transportation and Utilities. Formal approval is granted through a permit application process. Examples of acceptable signage and the Temporary Guide Sign Permit application form are available on the City’s web site.

Your permit application signifies that you have read and agree to follow these rules. Information about sign size, placement, design and examples of acceptable signs are posted on the City’s web site with the application form. City staff may remove or relocate, without notice, any signs found to be in violation of these rules.

More information on Temporary Guide Sign Permits

When can I get involved in a project?

The best time to get involved is during the design stage of a project. Design can last a few months or a few years, depending on the project. Most major improvement projects are planned several years in advance and have lengthy design processes that include many opportunities for public participation. Rehabilitation projects often have a shorter timeframe to meet more immediate needs. In both cases, as design reaches completion, the City contacts affected business operators and holds informational meetings on pending construction.

You can stay abreast of planned improvements, both long-term and short-term, by familiarizing yourself with:

Each of these documents is updated periodically and available on the City website.

How can I contact the Department of Transportation and Utilities?

You can visit the website for the Department of Transportation and Utilities at (keyword: ltu), email us at or call us at 402-441-7711.

Glossary of Useful Terms

An access is a way or means of entering or leaving a location.
Designated "principal" or "minor," these roadways may run for many miles across the city and county. Posted speed limits are generally in the middle ranges, 35 to 45 miles per hour, with access provided at grade. Traffic signals are often used to regulate the flow of vehicles along arterials. Access is managed, although movement to adjacent property along arterials is sometimes allowed depending upon the character of the area and the uses being served.
To bid or let is to offer a price for a construction job. This is a competitive process by which construction companies submit "bids" to the City to construct a project. Bids are awarded to the lowest responsible, responsive bidder that meets the specification requirements. "Let" is a synonym for "Bid."
Capacity is the volume of vehicles the road was designed to carry; it can also be applied to transit or bicycle/pedestrian paths.
Capital Improvement Program:
This is an annually updated document approved by the City Council that describes the City’s transportation, flood control, and park improvements, along with other capital projects and expenditures programmed for the next six years.
Comprehensive Plan:
This is a planning document that comprises the city and county’s policies and vision for long-term development over a 25-year timeframe. The document establishes a vision for growth while considering land use, social and economic outlooks, transportation, and environmental issues. Updates are usually made every five years and coincide with an extensive public input effort.
These streets serve as links between local streets and the arterial system. They provide both access and traffic circulation within residential, commercial, and industrial areas. Moderate to low traffic volumes are characteristic of these streets.
Design is the engineering process that occurs before a project can be built. During the design phase, a project’s detailed configuration and construction requirements are determined, and technical specifications, drawings, and cost estimates are produced.
Design Engineer:
This is the person or firm responsible for designing a project.
Functional Classifications:
These are road classifications that indicate how the roadway is intended to be used and the relative importance of a roadway to the neighborhood, community, and region. Functional classifications include interstate, expressway, arterial, collector, and local street.
The word grade has three possible definitions: (1) Elevation. "At-grade" means at ground level. (2) To shape or reshape an earth road by means of cutting or filling. (3) A roadway’s rate of ascent or descent.
Grade Intersection:
This is an intersection where all roadways join or cross at the same level.
Grade Separation:
This structure provides for highway, bicycle, or pedestrian traffic to pass over or under another highway or railroad tracks.
The word grading has two possible definitions: (1) Construction of the earthwork portion of the Highway. (2) Planing or smoothing the surface of various parts of a roadbed.
Level of Service (LOS):
Level of Service (LOS): LOS is a qualitative rating of the effectiveness of a roadway in serving traffic, in terms of operating conditions such as traffic flow, using an alphabetical scale from A to F, with A being the best (free flow) and F being the worst (stopped traffic).
Lincoln Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO):
The MPO is a policy-making board made up of representatives from local government and transportation authorities who review transportation issues and develop transportation plans and programs for the metropolitan area. The Lincoln MPO is responsible for developing the Long-Range Transportation Plan, which is covered in the Mobility and Transportation sections of the Lincoln-Lancaster County Comprehensive Plan.
Local Streets:
Local streets typically have a low amount of traffic with a high level of access to the properties along them. An example would be a residential street with a driveway for each of its houses.
Local Traffic:
Local traffic is traffic that begins or ends (has an origin or destination) within a specified area.
Long-Range Transportation Plan (LRTP):
An LRTP is a plan developed by the Lincoln Metropolitan Planning Organization that extends out over a 20-year horizon. The LRTP acts as the official guide for spending federal and state transportation funds expected to be available in Lincoln and Lancaster County. It is integrated into the Lincoln-Lancaster County Comprehensive Plan.
The median is the portion of a divided roadway separating the traveled ways for traffic in opposite directions.
Minor Arterials:
This functional class serves trips of moderate length and offers a lower level of mobility than principal arterials. This class interconnects with, and augments, principal arterials; distributes traffic to smaller areas; and contains streets that place some emphasis on land access. These are characterized by moderate to heavy traffic volumes.
Principal Arterial:
This is the functional class of street serves the major portion of through-traffic entering and leaving the urban area and is designed to carry the highest traffic volumes. Included in this class are fully controlled access facilities and partially controlled access facilities. For other principal arterials, the concept of service to abutting land is subordinate to serving major traffic movements.
Project Inspector:
The site representative for the City, responsible for issuing instructions and drawings to the contractor’s representative. This title is also sometimes called the project observer, field representative, or field engineer.
Project Manager:
The PM is the person or firm responsible for planning, coordinating, and controlling a project from inception to completion, meeting the project’s requirements and ensuring completion on time, within cost, and to required quality standards. Often, there is a City PM and a consultant PM. There may also be design PM and a construction PM.
Right-of-Way (ROW):
ROW is the land (usually a strip) acquired for or devoted to roadway or rail transportation purposes.
Traffic Calming:
Traffic calming is the measures taken to reduce the negative effects of vehicles, and improve conditions for walking or bicycling. A familiar example is the orange barrels with the warning to stop for pedestrians.
Through-traffic is traffic that passes through a specified area, without beginning or ending within the area.
Traffic Control Devices:
Traffic control devices are signs, signals, markings, and devices used to regulate, warn, or guide traffic.
Traffic Control Plans:
These are the overall plans for traffic control during construction. These plans are formulated during the final design phase or during project construction.
Transportation Improvement Program (TIP):
The TIP is an intermediate-range planning document that reflects the transportation expenditures programmed over the next five years. Project details are provided in the TIP, such as the general project description and costs, the funding source, and the funding year.
Volume is the number of vehicles that actually pass through a given mile of road; it can also be applied to transit or bicycle/pedestrian paths.
Volume-to-Capacity (V/C) Ratio:
V/C is the ratio of traffic volume (number of vehicles) on the roadway to the roadway’s vehicle capacity; it is used to calculate level of service.
The superintendent is a representative of the contractor who is responsible for executing a construction project.