Army Corps issues permit decision on second phase of Southeast Connector

Published April 15, 2015

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Sacramento District issued a permit decision April 15 to the Regional Transportation Commission of Washoe County, Nev., to construct phase two of the Southeast Connector project between Reno and Sparks.

The proposed project involves construction of a 4.5 mile, six-lane road with the overall purpose of providing improved north-south regional linkages between South Truckee Meadows and the City of Sparks for all modes of travel.

“Before we could make a decision, there were several critical issues that had to be addressed,” said Jason Gipson, Sacramento District’s regulatory branch chief for Nevada and Utah. “We believe that the RTC’s plan properly addresses cultural resource and water quality concerns and can now proceed.”

The critical issues the Corps resolved before issuing a permit concerned mercury contamination, flood risks, and cultural resources.

After the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe raised concerns in 2012 about possible contamination to nearby Steamboat Creek during construction of the proposed project, the RTC submitted a revised project plan and responded to questions related to soil management and water quality in order for the Corps to complete the application process.

In regards to mercury contamination, the RTC redesigned elements of the project plan to minimize the release of mercury into the surrounding aquatic environment. Contaminated soils within the project area will be removed and sequestered within the highway embankment. This method of soils treatment is consistent with the local Carson River superfund project. The Corps has also added special conditions to the permit for mercury monitoring within Steamboat Creek throughout the project area.

In response to local citizen concerns about flooding and impacts to the floodplain within the project site, the Corps completed an internal review of flood modeling produced by the RTC for the proposed project on two separate occasions. The review concluded the project would raise flood elevation in non-critical University of Nevada, Reno farm areas but would not raise flood elevations in developed areas.

The Corps coordinated with PLPT and other local tribes and consulted with the State Historic Preservation Officer to ensure the revised application complied with federal laws and regulations pertaining to cultural resources within the project area.

A more detailed explanation of environmental impacts, alternatives analysis including the permit application and related documents can be viewed on the RTC website at: 

The public and media are encouraged to contact the district's public affairs office with additional questions at 916-557-5100 or 

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers regulatory program administers and enforces Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 and Section 404 of the Clean Water Act. The Corps is committed to protecting the nation's aquatic resources, while allowing reasonable development through fair, flexible and balanced permit decisions.


Chris Gray

Release no. 15-013