Relief coming for I-84 travelers east of Boise
The distance between Boise and Bliss will get a little shorter, beginning next week. Or so it might seem for travelers in need of a break along the way.
The Blacks Creek Rest Area will reopen Monday (May 7) with new facilities after being closed for improvements. A ribbon cutting ceremony will begin at 2 p.m. on the Interstate 84 eastbound side of the rest area, located 10 miles east of Boise.
Idaho Transportation Board Chairman Darrell Manning will officiate, and the ceremony will include guest speakers. The Three Island Crossing Organization will display Oregon Trail-era costumes and a covered wagon with pack animals to highlight the area's Oregon Trail history.
The rest area project involved reconstruction of the facilities and grounds, including new restrooms, indoor vending machines, picnic areas, landscaping and parking. A rest area for eastbound motorists and a rest area for westbound motorists will be open 24 hours a day, with on- and off-ramps that allow for easy access to Interstate 84.
Other improvements include:
"Safety rest areas give motorists an opportunity at measured intervals to stop, get out and stretch in a well-lighted, safe environment," said Brent Jennings of ITD's Office of Highway Operations and Safety. "They also are a point where information is provided such as local directions and maps, and phone numbers to call for driving conditions in Idaho and neighboring states."
The rest area complex will serve a busy section of Interstate 84. In 2005, the average daily traffic count in this area was 20,500. By 2010, that number is expected to increase to nearly 24,000. By 2020, the number of vehicles is expected to increase to more than 30,000.
ITD maintains 22 rest areas across the state. In December of 2004, a rest area similar to Blacks Creek along Interstate 84 in Bliss reopened after reconstruction.
Ceremony attendees driving from the Mountain Home area will need to pass the rest area complex, take Exit 59 off of Interstate 84, then loop around and get back on I-84, driving east to reach the rest area. After the ceremony, those needing to drive back toward Boise can take Exit 64, about 500 yards east of the rest area. It offers access to I-84 for westbound motorists.
Western Construction Inc. of Boise is the contractor on the project.