Recognizing that safe and efficient highway transportation is a matter of important interest to all of the people in the state, the Legislature hereby determines and declares that an integrated system of highways is essential to the general welfare of the State of Nebraska.
Providing such a system of facilities and the efficient management, operation, and control thereof are recognized as urgent problems and the proper objectives of highway legislation.
Adequate highways provide for the free flow of traffic, result in low cost of motor vehicle operation, protect the health and safety of the citizens of the state, increase property values, and generally promote economic and social progress of the state.
It is the intent of the Legislature to consider of paramount importance the convenience and safety of the traveling public in the location, relocation, or abandonment of highways.
In designating the highway system of this state, as provided by sections 39-1301 to 39-1362 and 39-1393, the Legislature places a high degree of trust in the hands of those officials whose duty it shall be, within the limits of available funds, to plan, develop, construct, operate, maintain, and protect the highway facilities of this state, for present as well as for future uses.
The design, construction, maintenance, operation, and protection of adequate state highway facilities sufficient to meet the present demands as well as future requirements will, of necessity, require careful organization, with lines of authority definitely fixed, and basic rules of procedure established by the Legislature.
To this end, it is the intent of the Legislature, subject to the limitations of the Constitution and such mandates as the Legislature may impose by the provisions of such sections, to designate the Director-State Engineer and the department, acting under the direction of the Director-State Engineer, as direct custodian of the state highway system, with full authority in all departmental administrative details, in all matters of engineering design, and in all matters having to do with the construction, maintenance, operation, and protection of the state highway system.
The Legislature intends to declare, in general terms, the powers and duties of the Director-State Engineer, leaving specific details to be determined by reasonable rules and regulations which may be promulgated by him or her. It is the intent of the Legislature to grant authority to the Director-State Engineer to exercise sufficient power and authority to enable him or her and the department to carry out the broad objectives stated in this section.
While it is necessary to fix responsibilities for the construction, maintenance, and operation of the several systems of highways, it is intended that the State of Nebraska shall have an integrated system of all roads and streets to provide safe and efficient highway transportation throughout the state. The authority granted in sections 39-1301 to 39-1362 and 39-1393 to the Director-State Engineer and to the political or governmental subdivisions or public corporations of this state to assist and cooperate with each other is therefor essential.
The Legislature hereby determines and declares that such sections are necessary for the preservation of the public peace, health, and safety, for promotion of the general welfare, and as a contribution to the national defense.