Lincoln South Beltway

Nebraska Department of Transportation | Lincoln, NE

Following an environmental impact statement to study the possibility of constructing a beltway around the south side of Lincoln, Nebraska, Benesch was selected to complete the Environmental Assessment and preliminary and final design of the Lincoln South Beltway. The beltway provides a new east-west connection between U.S. Highway 77 and Nebraska Highway 2.

The purpose of the project was to complete the circumferential transportation network around Lincoln, which previously existed only on the north and west sides. The project moved traffic around Lincoln’s congested urban area and improved traffic flow on the existing urban street system. The beltway greatly improves regional and interstate connectivity through Nebraska and reduces conflicts between local and through traffic, including heavy truck traffic, in Lincoln.

Benesch began working on the design of the Lincoln South Beltway in the 1990s. The project eventually stalled until construction funding was identified through the Build Nebraska Act of 2011, allowing design and environmental efforts to continue. Once the environmental assessment was approved, the final design efforts were expedited to provide for construction beginning two years later.

At $352 million, this project was Nebraska’s largest active transportation project at the time of its construction. Benesch was the prime consultant for the Nebraska Department of Transportation (NDOT), developing final design plans and geotechnical services for the South Beltway segment. Benesch also provided support during the construction phase. The project included two system interchanges, three service interchanges, 43 miles of roadway alignments, 23 bridges and 11 roundabouts.

As the lead consultant for the final design, Benesch was responsible for approximately 75% of the design effort and the entirety of the environmental permitting. The final design phase started with a planned duration of around 18 months. During the process, not only were several major design changes made (including the geometry of the three service interchanges), but the schedule was also compressed by three months.

Benesch allocated additional resources to keep the project on schedule and has received numerous commendations from NDOT regarding the quality of work and the ability to deliver.

After decades of planning and a few years of construction, the Lincoln South Beltway opened to traffic six months ahead of schedule. The highly successful and complex project was a joint effort from the City of Lincoln, Lancaster County, and NDOT in cooperation with the Federal Highway Administration.



  • 2024, Grand Award, American Council of Engineering Companies of Nebraska
  • 2024, National Recognition Award, American Council of Engineering Companies