May 1908

Lane Cutoff Opens in Omaha

The plan for the Lane Cutoff was conceived nearly 45 years earlier, when Union Pacific Chief Engineer Peter Dey laid out a straight route between Omaha and the Elkhorn River. It was vetoed by consulting engineer Silas Seymour, who proposed an ox-bow line with less grade but also with nine extra miles of track. Dey was ultimately vindicated when E.H. Harriman straightened the main line in 1908. His Lane Cutoff directly followed the first route laid out by Dey.

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From 1863 to 1865, Peter Dey directed surveys of the road to Promontory Summit, helped secure land for right-of-way, ordered equipment, arranged tie contracts, raised funds for construction and served as Union Pacific's Chief Engineer. Today, Interstate I-80 closely parallels the roadway Dey and his colleagues designed.

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