Lincoln South Beltway Receives ACEC Nebraska’s Grand Award

Awards, Projects | February 20, 2024


aerial image of the completed Lincoln South Beltway, showing the Saltillo roundabouts

LINCOLN, NE—The Lincoln South Beltway has received the Grand Award from the American Council of Engineering Companies of Nebraska (ACEC/NE). The award is the highest possible honor given by the organization.

Designed to improve safety and facilitate travel along the City of Lincoln’s southern boundary, the $350 million beltway transformed the region when it opened to traffic—six months ahead of schedule—at the end of 2022. Benesch led the development of the project’s Environmental Assessment document, as well as preliminary and final design, on behalf of the City of Lincoln, Lancaster County and the Nebraska Department of Transportation (NDOT).

“Benesch has been a trusted partner on this project for decades,” remarked Benesch Project Manager and Lincoln Division Manager Tony Dirks, PE. “There have been many Benesch leaders—both past and present—involved in the success of this project and to see it honored in this way is really quite special.”

Prior to the beltway’s construction, the existing east-west corridor was a congested four-lane divided arterial with 15 traffic signals, where non-local semi-trucks accounted for nearly 20% of traffic. The Lincoln South Beltway brings 11 miles of new freeway to the area, with two system interchanges, three service interchanges, 23 bridges, 11 roundabouts, and 43 miles of existing roadway realignment throughout the corridor.

By diverting heavy truck traffic from local streets, the project significantly enhances safety and mobility throughout the area. Environmental stewardship was also a cornerstone of the project, as it included MS4 water treatments and the revitalization of wetlands and streams located within the project corridor. Moreover, the new beltway will act as a catalyst for area development and a dynamic force for regional growth.

Through detailed planning and relentless collaboration, the project team successfully navigated accelerated timelines and a variety of engineering complexities to deliver the massive project. It is the largest project ever undertaken by the DOT to date.

“A project this size would normally be split into multiple contracts, and construction would take over ten years,” said Dirks. “NDOT recognized this project needed to be accelerated, so the project was instead delivered with one construction contract, allowing for substantial construction to be completed in three years and entirely completed in the fourth year.”

The project will be honored during the 2024 ACEC-NE Engineering Excellence Awards event on April 25, and will also be eligible for further recognition from the national American Council of Engineering Companies in May.

Read more about the Grand Award, as well as two other Benesch-led projects honored by ACEC-NE, in this year’s special edition of the Omaha World Harold.