Federal, state and local officials heralded the progress on the Lincoln South Beltway Thursday as the work on Nebraska's largest infrastructure project remains on target.
Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts, U.S. Sen. Deb Fischer, Rep. Jeff Fortenberry, state Sen. Mike Hilgers of Lincoln and Lincoln Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird praised the years of effort, policy change and funding commitments at all levels of government to finally build the 11-mile freeway connecting U.S. 77 and Nebraska 2.
To date, project contractor Hawkins Construction of Omaha and its team of subcontractors have moved more than 2.1 million cubic yards of dirt to shape the freeway and its flyway bridges.
The COVID-19 pandemic delayed the project's ceremonial groundbreaking that had been planned for the spring, but the South Beltway construction team remains on pace to complete the freeway by spring 2024.
"We're where we want to be," Ricketts said.
The $352 million project involves 14 local subcontractors, nine of which have contracts with Hawkins of $2 million or more, Hawkins Construction Chief Operating Officer Chris Hawkins said.
The street projects include new pavement, roundabout intersections, handicap accessible sidewalks, a multi-use trail, utility installation and relocation, street lighting, concrete pads at bus stops and new driveway connections.
Lincoln Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird (from left), state Sen. Mike Hilgers, Rep. Jeff Fortenberry, Sen. Deb Fisher, Nebraska Department of Transportation Director Kyle Schneweis and Hawkins Construction COO Chris Hawkins listen as Gov. Pete Ricketts speaks at an event to celebrate the progress made on construction of the Lincoln South Beltway on Thursday.