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Southeast Connector Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is the Southeast Connector (SE) project?
A: The proposed Southeast (SE) Connector includes the construction of a major arterial roadway that will link the Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway (MLK) to U.S. Highway 65; add several at-grade intersections and close some existing intersections.

The SE Connector consists of two phases that include:

  • Roadway improvements between SW 2nd Street to SE 6th Street,
    including a new bridge over the Des Moines River
  • Roadway improvements from SE 6th Street to SE 15th Street
  • Roadway improvements from SE 15th Street to the U.S. 65 bypass

Q: What is the purpose of the SE Connector project?
A: The purpose of the Southeast Connector project is to construct a public purpose transportation facility that will provide access and improve mobility from the Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway to the U.S. Highway 65/Vandalia Road interchange.

Q: What is the history of the SE Connector project? How did the concept for the project come about?
A: The concept for improving transportation in the southeast portion of the Des Moines metropolitan area began in early 1970 and was referenced in several transportation studies in the 1980s-90s. The completion of U.S. 65, in addition to sustained population and business growth in the Des Moines metropolitan area and the construction of the Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway (MLK) initiated a preliminary location study for the Connector. The SE Connector is a follow-up project to that study.

Q: What are the potential benefits of the SE Connector?
A: The City of Des Moines and IaDOT anticipate the Southeast Connector project to:

  • Serve existing and future development
  • Improve mobility and traffic flow
  • Accommodate traffic projections and urban growth
  • Enhance opportunities for revitalization and economic development

Q: What is an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)?
A: An Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is a federally-required document that details the process through which a transportation project was developed. The EIS is divided into major sections that demonstrate the purpose and need of the project; how alternatives were considered and eliminated; and compliance with applicable environmental laws.

Q: Who is working on this project?
A: Kirkham Michael (KM) and Wilbur Smith Associates (WSA) will lead the project team for the City of Des Moines Southeast Connector project to provide a premiere suite of transportation planning, engineering and environmental analysis services. Seven additional firms complete the project team, providing specialized expertise in a variety of areas.

  • Jane Mobley Associates – public involvement
  • Rosales Gottemoeller & Associates (DBE) – bridge conceptual design and aesthetics
  • RDG Planning & Design – streetscapes/enhancements/landscape architecture
  • University of Iowa Office of the State Archeologist – architectural studies
  • Tallgrass Historians (DBE) – cultural/historic studies
  • Terracon – geotechnical/wetlands/hazmat
  • URS – threatened and endangered species/visual simulation

Q: How can I get my questions answered or offer comments on the project?
A: For additional information or to provide feedback, you can send mail to the following address:
SE Connector/P.O. Box 8368/Des Moines, IA 50301. Send email inquiries to: Or, call the City of Des Moines Engineering Department at (515) 283-4920.


Southeast Connector - Des Moines, IA

External link to City of Des Moines web siteExternal link to City of Pleasant Hill web site