A roadway extending from the south Truckee Meadows to the City of Sparks has long been considered. Proposed corridors have been deliberated upon and shown on various planning maps for over 40 years. Numerous decisions regarding zoning for residential and commercial development have also been made based on the assumption that a north-south connector road would be built, providing an alternate route for traffic currently using I-80, US 395/I-580, Virginia Street, South McCarran Boulevard, and Longley Lane.
In the early 1980’s, the concept for a roadway connection between Sparks and Geiger Grade, on the eastern side of the valley parallel to US 395 was envisioned. Three alternatives, with two sub-alternatives, were studied at that time. A preferred alternative was identified and right-of-way was set aside within the Rosewood Lakes Golf Course area.
In 1997, there was an update to the roadway connection based on new watershed data and new traffic volume data. The recent flood in the area, and the tremendous growth the area experienced, created a need to take another look at this project. Ten alternatives were evaluated during this review. In subsequent years, the project became known as the SouthEast Connector (SEC) to more accurately reflect the purpose of the proposed new roadway.
Additional alternatives were added to the analysis of the SEC due to new development, increased population growth, and changing population densities. Five corridors were identified for additional study, two of which were subsequently dropped from further consideration due to extremely high construction costs and not adequately meeting the original purpose and need for the project.
In 2004, three potential corridors for a southeast connector were accepted for consideration by the RTC Board of Commissioners. These consisted of the Valley Corridor, Foothills Corridor, and the Sparks Industrial Corridor. In January 2007, following a preliminary impact assessment, the RTC Board of Commissioners voted to proceed with the Valley Corridor and directed RTC staff to complete a plan line study for the SouthEast Connector within the preferred Valley Corridor.
The RTC initiated the plan line study in August 2007. This study evaluated various alternative alignments based on multiple criteria including traffic operations, safety, conformity with local and regional plans, environmental and cultural impacts, cost, constructability, and flood control integration.
On November 21, 2008, the RTC Board of Commissioners voted 3-2 in favor of the recommended alignment for the SouthEast Connector.