Concern for Saltillo Road during construction of the South Beltway

LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - Every day the South Beltway grows closer to becoming a reality; the three-year project officially begins May 1, 2020. The beltway is designed to move semi-truck traffic around Lincoln, but the process of building it could lead to some unexpected damage to other roads.

"The public will start seeing traffic shifts and start doing the major components of the project, which is the interchanges, the grating and the paving," said Steve McCullough, Assistant Roadway Design Engineer at the Nebraska Department of Transportation.

The $352 million projects will improve traffic for semi-trucks and travelers going through Lincoln by re-routing to the South Beltway.

"There is no doubt, the South Beltway is an Economic Supervitamin for our community, it's great," said Lancaster County Commissioner Sean Flowerday, "We're going to move 5 million cubic yards of dirt across Saltillo over the next three years. That's a heavy lift by any standard and that's going to beat the heck out of Saltillo Road."

The anticipated wear and tear combined with a self-declared infrastructure crisis prove to be a difficult situation for Lancaster County. Hawkins Construction will mainly use Saltillo to get to the project, and NDOT plans on monitoring the road throughout the 3-year project.

"If we needed to put some investment in Saltillo as a walk-away condition, it would definitely still be within the benefit of the Lincoln South Beltway," said McCullough.