Business and Commerce Growth,  Economic Benefits of Transportation,  Nebraska

Lincoln South Beltway Project

The Lincoln South Beltway is one of the largest projects the Nebraska Department of Transportation has taken on, therefore interaction with the public wasn’t taken lightly. The project improves east-west connectivity for regional and interstate travel through Nebraska and reduces conflicts between local and thru-traffic, including heavy truck traffic, in Lincoln. 

With the potential to impact homes, farmsteads, historical and park properties, and trails, numerous alternatives were evaluated through the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process to minimize or eliminate impacts as possible. These impacts required extensive public outreach throughout the planning and preliminary design phases.  Outreach included public meetings, public hearing and stakeholder meetings with affected property owners, businesses, and cycling groups to communicate changes in design and understand concerns.

Nebraska is a pay-as-you-go state and prohibited from incurring debt so funding was a challenge.  Normally with this sizable project, NDOT would break the project into phases and construct each phase as funding became available; this was not the case for this project.  The value of time encouraged NDOT to find effective, efficient ways to build the freeway to better serve the needs and avoid delay.

The beltway will be constructed in 3-4 years beginning as early as this spring by paying over a longer period using a design-bid-build contract with deferred payments.  To complement cash payments received from NDOT, the contractor will have the option of selecting a financing solution, such as self-financing, bank financing, bond financing, and the US Department of Transportation Build America Bureau’s Transportation Infrastructure Financing and Innovation Act (TIFIA) loan program. TIFIA has not been widely used in rural states and provides the opportunity to leverage innovation to meet the needs of rural America in a responsible way.  The approach simplifies the contract and likely saves taxpayers millions of dollars.

Read additional stories from this state: