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Nebraska DOT, Officials Celebrate Opening of Lincoln South Beltway

Tue January 03, 2023 - Midwest Edition #1
Nebraska Department of Transportation

Crews work on the South Beltway in February 2021.
(NDOT photo)
Crews work on the South Beltway in February 2021. (NDOT photo)
Crews work on the South Beltway in February 2021.
(NDOT photo)
Construction of the west interchange looking north in January 2022.
(NDOT photo)
Excavation activity near 120th Street in September 2022.
(NDOT photo)

The Nebraska Department of Transportation (NDOT), together with Gov. Pete Ricketts, NDOT Director John Selmer, Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird, and other state and local dignitaries gathered Dec. 14 to celebrate the opening of the Lincoln South Beltway. Through the collaborative efforts of NDOT and its partners, work is complete on the mainline of the Lincoln South Beltway and it is open to traffic. The $352 million, 11-mi. project connects U.S. Highway 77 (U.S.-77) and Nebraska Highway 2 (N-2).

NDOT has been working towards delivery of the South Beltway for decades and following passage of the Build Nebraska Act and the Transportation Innovation Act, it was able to partner with the city of Lincoln, Lancaster County and the U.S. Department of Transportation to secure funding and prioritize the project. In spring of 2018, additional funds were available with the awarding of a $25 million TIGER grant to NDOT.

In 2016, Ricketts signed into law LB 960, the Transportation Innovation Act, or TIA (introduced at the request of the governor by former Transportation and Telecommunications Committee Chair Jim Smith and prioritized by former Sen. Lydia Brasch). The TIA targeted $450 million towards accelerated expressway construction and investments in infrastructure projects to help Grow Nebraska. This legislation was one of the governor's top priorities for the 2016 legislative session and was passed with overwhelming support from the Legislature.

The Lincoln South Beltway is the largest and one of the most complex projects the NDOT has undertaken. Construction of the 11-mi., east-west, four-lane freeway will reduce congestion on the newly named Nebraska Parkway through Lincoln and improve regional mobility.

Preliminary work began in March of 2020, with construction beginning in earnest in May of the same year. Full construction is anticipated to be completed in spring of 2024. NDOT announced the use of an innovative financing approach to accelerate construction of the project over three years while still allowing payment over the same eight-year time frame.

Interchanges are open at Saltillo, 68th Street and 120th Street. The following interchanges will remain closed, as work will continue on them:

  • 38th Street
  • 54th Street
  • 82nd Street
  • 96th Street

NDOT has worked to provide updates to major mapping applications to ensure smooth navigation on the new alignment.

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