DES MOINES, Iowa — Starting April 3rd the north side lanes on Martin Luther King Junior Parkway will be closed for a construction project that may last until December 2024.

The project is mandated by the Environmental Protection Agency and will increase water quality by separating combined overflow for storm and waste water during times of extreme water flow.

Melissa Schlickbernd, a Wastewater Facilities Engineer with the City of Des Moines, said that the project will improve Des Moines’ water quality.

“Currently up in that area the sanitary sewer and the storm sewer during high rainfall events, that is just directly discharged to the river at this time. With our new project, we’re going to be installing a new sanitary sewer, five-foot diameter sewer, about 15-20 feet deep under the north lanes of MLK and that will direct all the flow to the wastewater plant where it will be properly treated before being discharged to the river so it improves water quality,” Schlickbernd said.

The south lanes of MLK Jr Parkway will be open for traffic in both directions. The intersections will also be open for the majority of the project’s duration.

Schlickenbernd said that the reason the project could last until December of 2024 has to do with the location of the construction.

“Why I say December 2024, is because there is a known archeological investigation that we have to do. This is in the Fort Des Moines area there’s a lot of history here so we are being mandated also to do archeological investigation so we just don’t know what we will find it could take a while it could be a short time,” Schlickenbernd said.

To learn more about the construction project visit the City of Des Moines’ website.