The beginning of construction this summer of a beltway in southeast Fremont will undoubtedly prove to be a significant positive step for the community and its residents.
The positive impact is akin to the benefits that will ensue from the completion of the Highway 30 expressway from east of Columbus to Fremont.
Both projects serve as excellent examples of how transportation infrastructure can play such a key role in terms of a region’s economic vitality.
The new beltway project is designed to divert U.S. 77 traffic around Fremont and improve access to several businesses.
What helped accelerate the project, according to the Nebraska Department of Transportation, was the financial support provided from the City of Fremont, Dodge County and local businesses. It’s a $61.9 million, three-year project that will be completed by Graham Construction of Omaha.
“The Southeast Beltway is vital to the Fremont community’s future. It will increase the safety of our roads and support the freight needs of businesses like Costco, WholeStone Farms and Fremont Beef,” said Fremont Mayor Scott Getzschman. “Our partnership with the Nebraska Department of Transportation is strong, but in the end, it’s the community that stepped up and is securing the future of the beltway.”
Once complete, the beltway will improve traffic flow and safety by providing a high-speed bypass on the southeast side of Fremont, just north of the Platte River. The four-mile project will divert traffic from downtown Fremont by linking U.S. 77 with U.S. 275 southeast of town.
In 2018, the project was fast-tracked and moved from the 2024 construction season to 2020 because of the growing need to support truck traffic associated with economic growth, including the new Lincoln Premium Poultry plant that processes chickens for Costco.
Forgive us for being a bit envious of how quickly the beltway project came to get started this summer. It’s just that the Highway 275 expressway continues to be much needed but hampered by delays — a federally ordered environmental wetlands review being at the top of the list.
Norfolk also has a good working relationship with the Nebraska Department of Transportation, and that’s appreciated. And it’s important to note that the Highway 30 and Fremont beltway projects ultimately will benefit all of eastern Nebraska in one way or another.
In the meantime, we’ll continue waiting — perhaps not as patiently as in the past — for Norfolk’s turn to come.