RTC's SouthEast Connector project is expected to create 120 jobs, improve emergency access and reduce traffic congestion. After nearly 20 years of planning a groundbreaking ceremony for the project was held Friday morning in Sparks. The connector road project comes with a price tag of
$200 million, but officials say it's an important step to improve the local economy.
When it is complete, the road will connect Reno's South Meadows with the Sparks Boulevard corridor. While the project met with some resistance early on, Washoe County Commissioner Bob Larkin says residents in East Reno are going to find that their commute times are significantly reduced. He says the city purchased Rosewood Lakes golf course, setting $7 million aside to make any necessary changes to keep the course in play.
A top concern for engineers is environmental impacts as the road crosses through wetlands. RTC has been working with the Army Corps of Engineers as the create plans for the project. Friday morning the Corps approved a plan for a flood resistant bridge that will take traffic across the river.
The economy and the population have changed since the 5.5 mile stretch of road was first proposed, but planners say it's still a necessary change. "We are going to be able to connect businesses together, we're going to be able to provide cost savings to businesses, and that will help improve the performance of the economy," says Lee Gibson, Executive Director of RTC "and that's something that we should never forget."
In addition to the roadway, the plan calls for a bike path and recreational facilities along the route. The connector is not expected to open to traffic until 2016