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Construction of a long-awaited motocross track and parking lot at the Abbott Sports Complex on the northeast edge of Lincoln should begin in late May or early June.

The Lower Platte South Natural Resources District paved the way for work to begin when it awarded a $496,775 contract Wednesday to Pat Thomas Construction Inc. of Lincoln.

The NRD board voted 18-2 to approve the project. Directors Marsha Babcock and David Potter voted no. Director Richard Bolte was absent.

Before the work can start, the contract has to be approved by the Lancaster County Board, which also is involved in the motocross project. Its vote is scheduled for Tuesday.

The initial phase of the project includes building a 1.5-mile dirt track, a parking lot and a fence on the southwest corner of the track, said Ariana Kennedy, a resources conservationist with the Lincoln-based NRD.

Eighty-percent of the funds will come from a federal recreational trails grant program and the balance from private donors and Lancaster County, Kennedy said.

"The NRD is not funding any of it," she added.

Additional amenities, including bleachers, a scoring tower and more parking, will be built in later phases, said Del Lienemann Jr., president of the Lincoln Sports Foundation, which will operate the track.

Lienemann said the NRD approval was good news, noting that construction of the track should coincide with construction of an access road.

"It looks like we should have the road built in time to get to the motocross facility," Lienemann said.

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Kennedy said the motocross track should be open by late August or September.

Planning for a motocross track has been in the works since 2004.

Last August, the Lancaster County Board set aside $475,000 for the motocross project, which includes $425,000 for the new entrance road.

Reach Algis J. Laukaitis at 402-473-7243 or

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