East MLK Parkways Extends in Southeast Des Moines

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DES MOINES, Iowa -- The southeast part of town gets a new roadway Friday afternoon.

“It’s pretty incredible,” said Joe Gatto, Des Moines City Council.

The City of Des Moines will host a ribbon cutting at 2 p.m. Friday. The event will officially open E. Martin Luther King Jr Parkway between S.E. 15th Street and S.E. 30th Street to traffic.

This area is phase two of the Southeast Connector project and improves connectivity for residents and businesses.

“It opens up so many thousands of acres of opportunities of new jobs and tax base for the city of Des Moines,” said Gatto.

The Southeast Connector will transition from the four-lane roadway at SE 15th Street and East Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway to a two-lane roadway connecting to SE 30th Street. The new corridor includes two new bridges, improvements to several intersecting streets, new traffic signals, street lighting, a shared-use trail alongside the street, and other landscaping enhancements.

”I think this will give us an opportunity, like I said, for a lot of people that have never been to that part of the city,” said Gatto. “It’s a great opportunity for southeast Des Moines to have some different development, that we normally aren’t used to. It’s always been a heavy industrial area and hopefully we will see some cool development down there.”

One of the biggest benefits of the expansions is all trucks will be required to divert off Maury Street at SE 23rd Street to the SE Connector.

Eventually this will run all way through to Pleasant Hill and Highway 65. It will be a while though. They will finish up design plans this summer but it won’t be until 2021 when construction can start. The reason is because the federal funding they used to build the newest stretch cannot be applied again until 2021. The estimated cost of that expansion is $40 million.

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