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New traffic lights installed on Highway 370 at deadly intersection

New traffic lights installed on Highway 370 at deadly intersection

By Josh Egbert. CREATED Aug 13, 2014

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) - New traffic lights at a deadly intersection are a welcome relief for one popular, nearby business.

There have been many crashes at Highway 370 and 180th Street, near Gretna, including one that killed a 15-year-old boy last fall.

Workers at Vala's Pumpkin Patch are busy getting ready for fall. 

“We put stuff away because we're only open for the 42, 43 days,” said Tim Vala, with Vala’s Pumpkin Patch. “There's just a lot of work.” 

Work is also being done right up the road.

“It's going to make it safer,” Vala said.

The Nebraska Department of Roads is installing traffic signals at the intersection of Highway 370 and 180th Street.

“A traffic light, I think, would definitely be useful,” said Papillion resident Lydia Pace.

Last October, a crash killed 15-year-old Nate Lafave.

He and two friends were heading south on 180th Street, toward Vala's, when another car collided with them on Highway 370.

Nate's mother, Beth, did not want to go on camera, but release a statement:

“Nate, our family and his friends have paid an unimaginable price for that stop light. I am glad that it will be a safer intersection come this fall, because I would never want another family to suffer the intense grief and unbearable loss that we feel every day.”

Vala says the light is needed for safety, but also because the area is growing.

“It doesn't take long to do the math to figure out it's going to get busier and busier,” he said.

The state says electricity should be hooked up to the poles within the next couple of weeks.

They will then test and activate the lights when traffic is the busiest, like in the fall, when thousands head to the pumpkin patch.

The state will also install traffic lights down the road at 204th Street, where 19-year-old Dylan Krula died.

Both sets of traffic signals are expected to be activated by October.