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Southeast Connector Moving Forward

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Native Nevadans know the "Southeast Connector", linking Sparks to Geiger Grade as a longtime pipe dream. Securing the land and funding and overcoming opposition took years and years. Now RTC Project Manager Garth Oksol says they're about to begin work on "the final version of what was first discussed in 1965."

It has had a few names since 1965, starting with the Tahoe-Pyramid Link. Garth says the Southeast Connector is the biggest missing link we have. As he put it, "The eastern part of the Truckee Meadows is very under served when it comes to regional roads." As it is now, many Sparks drivers going south go through the Spaghetti Bowl. The new road would lessen traffic through there and on I-580 and I-80.

Thanks to a recently approved contract worth $65.1 million, the project is now becoming a reality with the ground breaking set for a little more than two weeks from now.

It's the beginning of what will be RTC's largest locally-funded project in history. Standing at the connector's starting point, Oksol told us "The project's going to start here at the intersection of Sparks Boulevard and Greg Street, and we'll continue on to the south."

Basically, the Southeast Connector will be a north-south route for the eastern part of the valley. Five-and-a-half miles of six-lane road will start at Sparks Boulevard at Greg Street, extending Sparks Boulevard where it ends there. It will cross open and University of Nevada farmland to eventually connect with Geiger Grade down South.

Altogether, the connector is nine miles long. Four of those miles have already been built as Veterans Parkway and to cross the Truckee River in Sparks, crews will build a new 1,300-foot bridge.

The entire project will take a long time to finish. Oksol says the current schedule for phase one is 20 months, with the entire roadway taking three years to finish.

All of it is funded by bonds and the RTC-5 fuel tax that was voted on back in 2008. The groundbreaking is set for December 14th.

-Written by John Potter

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