Gov. Ricketts announces accelerated plan for South Beltway

LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - The Lincoln South Beltway will be open earlier than expected.

On Monday, Governor Ricketts announced the plan to get the beltway done in three years instead of the expected eight.

Something that should save millions of dollars.

The long-awaited South Beltway will provide a freeway around the south part Lincoln.

One of the main reasons for this is to reduce the number of semis driving through the city on Highway 2.

The $300 Million beltway project is something the Nebraska Trucking Association says will revolutionize the truck traffic through Nebraska.

"The trucking industry has been looking forward to the South Beltway as long as anyone is,” said Nebraska Trucking Association President, Kent Grisham.

Kent Grisham says the congestion here in Lincoln, especially on highway 2, is a problem for commuters but also truck drivers.

"It's hard on their trucks, it's hard on the streets, it's hard on the environment, it's hard on fuel efficiency for the companies, there are all kinds of problems that are created in that,” said Grisham.

He says with the beltway allowing trucks to move non-stop around the city it can eliminate the problem.

The 11 mile beltway is a planned 4-lane expressway south of Lincoln that will link Highway 77 and Highway 2.

It will run roughly parallel to Saltillo Road.

Governor Pete Ricketts says by having it built in 3 years but paying for it over the 8-year-period could save $20-25 Million.

"By doing that and letting it out as one big project, we will avoid the five phases this would usually go through,” said Governor Pete Ricketts.

Governor Ricketts says this will be less of an inconvenience for drivers and will allow them to use the beltway earlier than originally planned.

Something Grisham says he'll be looking forward to.

"We think it's fantastic,” said Grisham.

Construction on the Lincoln South Beltway is expected to start in early 2020 with plans to have the freeway open to traffic at the end of 2022.