The Blacks Creek Rest Area reopened Monday, offering Interstate 84 motorists additional parking, new restrooms, landscaping, covered picnic areas and lengthened on- and off-ramps from the interstate.
Idaho Transportation Board Chairman Darrell Manning, contractors, transportation department employees and members of the Three Island Crossing Organization gathered for a ribbon cutting ceremony at the rest area 10 miles east of Boise. The rest area closed for rebuilding in December 2005.
“It’s fitting that the Blacks Creek Rest Area is here. Interstate 84 is one of Idaho’s busiest routes,” Manning said. “In 2005, the average daily traffic count was at 20,500 on the section of Interstate 84 in front of the rest areas. By 2010, that number is expected to increase to 24,000. By 2020, the number of vehicles is expected to increase to more than 30,000.”
In addition to Manning, speakers included Dave Carlson of AAA Idaho and Greg Seibert of the Idaho Department of Commerce and Labor.
Blacks Creek offers a rest area for eastbound and westbound motorists. Both rest areas have lobbies that are open 24 hours a day, with snack and soda pop vending machines.
Seibert said rest areas like Blacks Creek illustrate Idaho’s commitment to economic development, and they are a factor when companies consider where to locate.
“When companies consider Idaho as a place to do business or when our existing companies are considering whether to expand here, they look at a whole range of issues, from the cost of doing business to the amenities that we have available for their employees,” Seibert said. “The transportation system is extremely important and rest stops are an integral part of that transportation system.”
Motorists were pulling into the rest areas shortly after Monday’s formal opening. In addition to giving passing motorists an opportunity to rest, Blacks Creek will offer truck drivers a convenient place to wait outside of the operating hours of a nearby weigh station.
Other improvements include individual, private restrooms for families and those with disabilities, handicapped-accessible stalls, fold-out changing tables in men’s and women’s restrooms, handicapped ramps from the parking lots and additional parking for RVs and semi trucks.
“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."