I-84 Near Meridian To Experience Major Traffic Delays This Fall
MERIDIAN (KTVB) -- Starting next week, commuters in the Treasure Valley will be seeing a lot more traffic jams.
Idaho Transportation Department Public Information Specialist Jennifer Gonzalez says the work to turn the outdated Meridian Interchange into the largest interchange in the state, is close to done. "We're really excited because this is the final push of construction. Meridian Interchange, it's all going to be wrapped up by the end of November."
But, to put the finishing touches on the interchange, ITD will have to reduce the lanes on a heavily traveled stretch of Interstate, from Eagle to Ten Mile. Gonzalez says, "It will be configured to a two-lane pattern."
Right now, 128,000 cars travel on, under, or around the Meridian Interchange. ITD expects that number to more than double in 20 years, so the work is necessary. But, in the meantime, thousands of cars will be squeezed into even tighter quarters. "There will be significant delays associated with this project," says Gonzalez. "I cannot emphasize that enough."
But, how long might those delays be? Gonzalez couldn't say. So, photojournalist Ryan Hilliard and I decided to drive a commute, even before the lane restrictions were in place, during rush hour, to figure out how long it might take you to commute next week. We left from the Curtis Exit at 5:23 p.m., and arrived at the Ten Mile Exit 28 minutes later. When you add on the lane restrictions of next week, you can figure in about another 15 minutes on to that commute. That's a pretty significant amount of time to get 11 miles.
That much time in traffic can wear on you. But, Gonzalez reminds us to drive calm not just for our own safety, but also for the crews trying to do their job just feet from your car.
"It is a very active construction zone. There are a lot of vehicles on the road," said Gonzalez. "Pay attention. Give yourself enough time. Do not be texting and driving. Put your phone down."
We asked ITD about alternate routes, and they said they don't recommend routes. So, you're all on your own. Regardless, any main road running East/West is going to be jammed up.
These lane restrictions will go into effect next week, but ITD hasn't decided yet on what day next week. We'll keep you updated.