Gov. Otter formally marks beginning of construction
on new Interstate 84/Ten Mile Road Interchange
Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter joined business and government leaders and citizens Tuesday (June 23) to formally launch a construction project that will create more than 600 jobs and add a new gateway into Meridian.
More than 200 people participated in a groundbreaking ceremony that signals the beginning of construction on the new Ten Mile Interchange over Interstate 84. Targeted for completion in 2011, the interchange will be the first new one built in the Treasure Valley since 2006. Idaho Sand & Gravel Co. submitted the winning construction bid of $33.8 million.
"This road project with all the good jobs it will help create and individual lives it will benefit has been high on my priority list since my years on the House Transportation Committee in Congress," Governor Otter said.
"It's great to see it finally coming to fruition on my watch, as we continue progress toward making this key corridor of commerce safer and more efficient for Idaho families."
Meridian Mayor Tammy De Weerd said the interchange will provide a much-needed third access from I-84 into the rapidly growing city and will provide relief for the heavily congested Meridian Road interchange.
"This has been a long day in coming," she said. "Today is the day to celebrate." She thanked Gov. Otter and Sen. John McGee (R-Caldwell) for their efforts to secure funding for the interchange and credited Sen. Mike Crapo with acquiring special congressional funds for the project.
"Mostly, I want to thank the community because this has become a community effort. Our citizens have been there every step along the way," the mayor said.
City officials and council members worked hard to incorporate land use planning into the Ten Mile Interchange process, she added. The interchange will be a key to moving traffic safely, easing congestion and providing a new route for emergency responders.
McGee, chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee, said it is gratifying to see a vote turn into a project. Efforts to design and build the Ten Mile Interchange date to early this decade and span three governors, he said.
"Now is the time to make this valley easier to explore," McGee said. He listed a half dozen other major highway construction projects along I-84 that are transforming the heart of the Treasure Valley.
"With 60,000 Idahoans out of work and 15 percent unemployment in the construction industry, this is a major investment in economic development and Idaho's future," he added.
The new Ten Mile overpass will span 200 feet across I-84 and is designed to accommodate additional interstate lanes. On- and off-ramps will connect with Ten Mile Road, which is scheduled for widening from two to four lanes with sidewalks and bicycle lanes between Overland and Franklin roads.
The unique design, similar to one planned for the I-84/Vista Interchange in Boise, creates a Single Point Urban Interchange (SPUI) that uses a one traffic signal to control all vehicle movements to and from the interstate. Several other states, including Utah, have adopted the innovative design to move traffic through interchanges safely and efficiently.
Lochner is the prime designer for the project, and Connecting Idaho Partners of Boise completed right-of-way purchases. The project is funded through Grant Anticipation Revenue Vehicle (GARVEE) bonds.
The accelerated construction schedule, driven in part by major expansion of the interstate between Nampa and Meridian, will lead to completion in less than half the time normally required.
"For this process to be complete in less than three years is a credit to outstanding teamwork that included engineering and environmental staff and project consultants," said Idaho Transportation Board Chairman Darrell V Manning.
Dozens of dignitaries, citizens and children, some carrying their own shovels of various sizes and shapes, turned the dirt that symbolically marked the beginning of the project. Children from the Meridian Boys and Girls Club painted unique designs on some of the shovel handles.
Gov. Otter concluded the ceremony by taking the controls of a D8T Caterpillar bulldozer and demonstrating his ability to break ground with a large, diesel-powered shovel.