22-month construction project breaks ground on I-84 in Meridian

MERIDIAN, Idaho (KBOI) - A 22-month construction project broke ground Sunday night, meaning short-term slowdowns for long-term traffic flow improvements in the state's fastest-growing city.

Overnight lane restrictions on I-84 started at 10 p.m. Sunday. They end at 5 a.m. but will continue each night through the end of the month.

Built in 1965, the Meridian Road Interchange handled 15,000 cars a day back then. Now, eight times as many cars roll through: 128,000 each day. The construction centers on improvements that will improve safety and traffic flow, according to the Idaho Transportation Department.

"Just lots of growth here in the Valley," said Som Phimmasone of Meridian, "and I think any change is good, too, especially to accommodate more traffic."

ITD says the new junction will be similar to the one at Ten Mile Road in Meridian. Traffic moves through three cycles in the "single-point urban interchange."

"I think it would help out with the flow of traffic," said Cody Pittman of Meridian. "I have noticed it gets a little congested sometimes."

Construction at I-84 and Meridian Road includes widening the interstate to four lanes.

"Two steps forward, one step back," Phimmasone said. "It's going to not be good for the next year and a half, but definitely long-term, it's definitely good for the Valley."

Expect lane closures and a lower speed limit until work is completed in late 2015.