By Mark Barnes
The Idaho Transportation Department unveiled new plans on Monday, March 11, 2013 to improve three interchanges on I-84. The Meridian Road, Broadway Avenue and Gowen Road exits will be replaced beginning in early 2014 with a third lane added between Broadway and Gowen Roads. The project completion is expected by fall of 2015.
Improvements to the Meridian Road interchange with I-84, already over 50 years old, will improve traffic flow, allow more room for traffic to merge and add pedestrian sidewalks and bike lanes. Currently the Meridian Road interchange sees over 128,000 vehicles per day crossing over or under on the highway. In 1965, when the interchange was originally built traffic was only 15,000 cars per day. The improvements estimated to cost $40 million are expected to handle the increase of tens of thousands of vehicles through the year 2035.
A unique feature to the Meridian and Broadway interchanges is that it uses a Single-Point Urban Interchange (SPUI) that utilizes one traffic signal in the middle of the interchange. This improves the traffic flow and movement of vehicles through the intersections. Similar to the Vista Avenue interchange project on I-84, the Meridian Road interchange will allow not only residents who commute to and from Meridian and Kuna, but businesses located in the area easier access to the freeway.
“WinCo Foods has a store that is located right next to the Meridian Interchange and our trucks use the Gowen Interchange daily to go in and out of our regional distribution center,” said Michael Read, Vice President of Public and Legal Affairs for WinCo Foods.
Meridian Mayor Tammy de Weerd said, “Improving I-84 is not only an important part of making Meridian a thriving and healthy community, but the Treasure Valley as a whole. Rebuilding and improving the Meridian Road Interchange will help move people and goods, improve safety for the bicyclist and pedestrians that travel across the bridge and enhance economic growth by accommodating more traffic in that area.”
The public is invited to attend an open house on Wednesday, March 20 and Thursday, March 21 between 4 and 6 p.m. at the COMPASS office (700 NE 2nd Street, Meridian) to learn more and discuss plans regarding the Meridian Interchange.