DES MOINES, Iowa - The SE Connector project in Des Moines, which will connect Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway to US Highway 65, is currently in the third of five phases.
So far the city has made improvements from the Des Moines River Bridge to SE 6th Street. Crews have started paving the road from SE 9th Street which will eventually connect to the US Highway 65 bypass in Pleasant Hill.
City officials said the road will improve traffic flow and spur growth and development in Des Moines industrial quarter. "It also opens up an area that hasn’t really been ripe for development. It offers more development for the city in an area that wasn’t really seeing that type of development," said Des Moines' Deputy Chief Engineer Pam Cooksey.
Construction on the road began in 2006. Cooksey said the project has no definitive completion date but it’s making good time. “It came together a lot quicker and a lot better than we thought it would and we thought we would be out here a lot longer.”
The $100 million project has only been funded through SE 30th Street. That portion is expected to be completed in 2016. The city is still waiting on funds to complete the next stage of the project: from SE 30th Street to US Highway 65. The city predicts it will have the funds in the next five years or more.
Economic developers say in two years the area will see a definite change. "The big deal will be when it connects to the SE 14th street because then it really goes somewhere. Its serves a large quantity of traffic, commuters and so forth and provides them a new way to access downtown," says Erin Olson - Douglas.
The city hasn't received any property bids yet but Olson - Douglas anticipates commercial businesses and residential space to develop.
The final stage will expand the two lane road into a four lane road as the area gains more development.