Lincoln truck stop ready for South Beltway traffic

A new stretch of road could change revenue streams for small businesses in south Lincoln
Published: Dec. 14, 2022 at 7:08 PM CST
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - Construction began on the Lincoln South Beltway in 2020. Nearly three years and $352 million later, an 11-mile stretch of road has forever changed the flow of traffic south of Lincoln.

“It’s pretty humbling, really, when you see the magnitude of everything,” said Peter Simmons, a superintendent with Hawkins Construction. “The stacks of piling, the amount of material we had on site was pretty overwhelming. Just to see a little bit every day go away, and now it’s all gone.”

One small business, Shoemaker’s South, felt the weight of that magnitude--surrounded by orange cones and dump trucks for years.

The truck stop’s general manager Jordan Palmer said when construction first started, he faced some difficult decisions.

“Overnight, the sales cut in half,” Palmer said. “It was a struggle. Overall, there’s been some wins and there’s been some losses.”

Those wins came hard fought by his 12 employees, but Palmer said in some ways, it made the business better.

“What more than not that it comes down to was just building relationships with the people in the area,” Palmer said.

And though Palmer doesn’t expect those relationships to change, he’s not sure what exactly the future will bring.

“I think we’re definitely expecting more traffic in that respect, but the uncertainty of how long that will take to grow is more or less the uncertainty,” Palmer said.

Palmer said he was happy to see the roads open. That happened this morning with an announcement from the governor and director of NDOT. Now, traffic will stream more smoothly between South 120th Street to the east and Highway 77 to the west.

“I’m expecting it to be, not today and not tomorrow, but very much so to grow substantially.”