Despite good news, South Beltway timeline remains the same

By: Bill Schammert

It was good news from the State Capitol on Wednesday as the governor announced many of the Build Nebraska Act Phase I projects are ahead of schedule.

“These roads projects are important for Nebraska’s future,” Gov. Dave Heineman said. “Good roads are important for economic growth and public safety.”

The Act, passed a few years ago, sets aside one-quarter of one-cent of the state sales tax for roads projects. It’s helping fund 17 major projects in the Cornhusker State over the next decade, but what does the good news mean for the South Beltway?

Thomas Shafer with the City of Lincoln says the timeline will likely remain the same. The South Beltway, which has been a part of Lincoln’s thought process for more than a decade already, is still slated for a construction start-date of 2020.

Shafer says the city is currently working on the environmental process and gathering rights of way. Director of the Nebraska Department of Roads, Randy Peters, says big projects take time.

“We need the time that’s programmed in there to get these projects ready,” Peters said a news conference on Wednesday.

The 11-mile South Beltway isn’t the only project on Lincoln’s radar, the city is still actively discussing the East Beltway, Shafer said. 

The East Beltway would connect the eventual South Beltway with Interstate-80, running just east of 120th Street, however funding has not yet been secured for the project. Shafer estimated the city-county project could cost upwards of $240 million.

For more information on the 17 projects being funded with Build Nebraska dollars, click here.