Southeast Connector FAQ

The Southeast (SE) Connector is the construction of a major arterial roadway that will link Downtown Des Moines to U.S. Highway 65.

The purpose of the Southeast Connector project is to construct a public purpose transportation facility that will provide access and improve mobility from Downtown Des Moines to the U.S. Highway 65/Vandalia Road interchange.

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. Between 2005 and 2021, six separate phases have been constructed to push the roadway to its current terminus at SE 30th Street, leaving an uncompleted section between SE 30th Street and Pleasant Hill Boulevard.

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

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.

Kirkham, Michael & Associates, Inc. (KM) is leading 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

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.

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