Des Moines hoping for $23 million federal grant to build final piece of MLK Parkway

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DES MOINES, Iowa — The Martin Luther King, Jr. Parkway has provided a fast route to the heart of Des Moines for more than a decade, but engineers want to complete the long-planned link once and for all.

The city plans to apply for a $23 million grant from the United States Department of Transportation for the final piece of the parkway, which would stretch from SE 30th Street to the Highway 65 bypass in Pleasant Hill.

“This connection will be critical. It provides a safer roadway corridor,” said Des Moines city engineer Steve Naber. “We’re optimistic, as this project does meet the criteria for that funding.”

Naber says the last leg of MLK Parkway is estimated to cost about $60 million, but other funding sources have been secured for the project. If the federal funding is approved, construction could start as soon as 2023 with a planned opening date of 2026.

Southeast Des Moines resident Zach Moehle is optimistic to see the missing link take shape because of how beneficial the existing portion of the parkway has been for his neighborhood.

“To get to the East Village from here, it takes about five minutes,” said Moehle. “It used to take about fifteen minutes before the parkway.”

He hopes the engineers build the final portion because traffic from the end of the parkway zooms down his street on a daily basis.

“Hopefully it will take some of the traffic off of our road so we don’t have to worry about kids and dogs,” Moehle said.

Take a look at a rendering of what the project could look like completed:

You can keep track of the progress of the project here.

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