The Nebraska Department of Transportation announced this week that it would host an event commemorating the opening of the Lincoln South Beltway. This project is the culmination of around three decades of planning and over two years of construction. While the beltway isn’t fully complete yet, it will finally open to traffic this month, and a few months ahead of schedule at that!
The Lincoln South Beltway Will Ease Traffic in South Lancaster County
The beltway is an 11-mile stretch of highway connecting US Route 77 and Nebraska Highway 2. It’s a four-lane highway that runs east to west. The $352 million project aims primarily to ease congestion on Nebraska 2, one of the region’s major thoroughfares. Nebraska 2 is not a freeway, as it has a number of stop lights throughout its length. Therefore, the need for a more free-moving stretch of highway was obvious.
Lincoln city officials began discussing the idea of a southern beltway in the 1980s. However, concerns about cost and environmental impacts delayed the project’s beginning until early 2020. Construction progressed rapidly thanks to dry weather conditions, allowing the contractor, Hawkins Construction Company, to complete its work well ahead of schedule. The last time there was an update on the project, its projected end date was sometime in May 2023.
NDOT announced that there would be an event commemorating the beltway’s opening on December 14th. The media event will include remarks by Governor Pete Ricketts, Lincoln Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird, NDOT Director John Selmer, and Hawkins COO Chris Hawkins. You can find more details about the event here.
The work isn’t done yet.
Although the beltway will open to the public in mid-December, the work is far from over. NDOT estimates that work will continue on the highway until the fall of 2024. That work will mostly be for various interchanges and roundabouts along the beltway’s path. As of now, the only interchange that traffic can access will be at 70th Street. However, there will eventually be interchanges at 84th Street and 27th Street, too.