Crowd welcomes new Karcher interchange
A steady rain, paused long enough for the new $30 million Karcher Interchange to bask in momentary glory Tuesday. State and local officials joined ITD leaders to place a large overhead sign on the Karcher/ Interstate 84 overpass, formally signifying the end of the project and opening a new door to Nampa.
Under construction for 16 months, the interchange provides new options for truck traffic destined for Idaho 55 and for shoppers who want to take advantage of a burgeoning commercial area north of I-84.
Nampa Mayor Tom Dale, Idaho Senate Transportation Committee Chairman John McGee and Idaho Transportation Board Chairman Frank Bruneel were among the speakers for the opening event.
The Northwest Nazarene University jazz band ensemble performed before and after the ceremony.
The Karcher Interchange is the first major interchange built in the Treasure Valley since the Isaac's Canyon Interchange opened in 1997. It provides a link to I-84 for commuters in southern Canyon County.
The five-lane interchange overpass realigns Idaho 55 at its intersection with Nampa-Caldwell Boulevard, preventing traffic delays at the railroad tracks. The north end of the overpass links to the new three-lane Karcher Connector Road that opened in August.
An ambitious construction schedule required the contractor – Central Paving Co. of Boise – to complete a large amount of work in a short period of time, said ITD project coordinator Jon Whipple. The project constructed approximately 17 new lane miles, including five bridges, five interchange ramps, a new Idaho 55 alignment and support roadways.
"This project has brought tremendous economic development to Nampa, particularly at the new Treasure Valley Marketplace," Nampa Mayor Tom Dale said. "We look forward to the long-term positive effects the new interchange will have on the economic stability of our community, and the opportunities it brings."
The interchange opened to traffic at approximately 6 p.m. and immediately generated curiosity traffic. Commuters gave it a full test the following morning on their daily round-trips to Boise.
Photos: Idaho Transportation Board Chairman Frank Bruneel joined Nampa Mayor Tom Dale and Ryan Ward of Central Paving Co. to install a new sign at the Karcher Interchange (top); Dale discussed the benefits of the new interchange (center), and Bruneel and State Sen. John McGee autograph the back of the sign while transportation board member Monte McClure watched (bottom right).