Sirens, mini parade say welcome to I-84/Ten Mile Interchange
About 250 people joined with the city of Meridian, local legislators and long-time advocates to celebrate the new Ten Mile Interchange at a ceremony on the northeast quadrant of the bridge deck Tuesday (May 17).
Mayor Tammy de Weerd spoke extensively about how the new interchange will open the western end of Ada County to greater opportunity and development, and got choked up when describing the teamwork, focus and single-mindedness required to make the $33.8 million interchange a reality.
"If anything resembles the power of the people, it's this interchange. And that's what I get emotional about," said de Weerd.
State Sen. John McGee (R-Caldwell) was master of ceremonies for the event. McGee, a strong proponent of GARVEE and former Senate Transportation Committee chair, expressed gratification that Ten Mile had come to fruition.
Idaho Lt. Gov. Brad Little and ITD District 3 board member Jerry Whitehead also spoke at the event, which culminated with fire engines from the city of Meridian taking the dignitaries down the eastbound on-ramp and east on I-84, a maneuver that will be copied thousands of times a day when the ramps open to traffic by Memorial Day.
According to projections, more than 41,000 vehicles will use the Ten Mile Interchange daily by 2030, based on the continued development of the area. The new interchange is expected to reduce congestion on I-84 and local roads. Delay times at the Meridian Road Interchange are expected to decrease by 48 percent by 2030, congestion on Franklin, Overland and Meridian roads is expected to decrease by 11 percent by 2030; and traffic volumes at the Meridian Road Interchange are expected to decrease by 34 percent by 2030 as drivers choose to take the less-congested Ten Mile Interchange.
"In addition to expanding freeway access and enhancing traffic flow across the valley, this interchange provides a needed public safety access point and promises to be the catalyst for exciting new development in the surrounding area, bringing with it new opportunities and economic growth," said de Weerd when talking to a reporter from Fox 12 news.
Before the ceremony, Connecting Idaho Partners sponsored a Chamber of Commerce luncheon at the Ten Mile Christian Church north of the new interchange. All of the partners required to move the Ten Mile concept from design through construction were recognized.
The ceremony on the bridge deck began with the Pledge of Allegiance delivered by the Simmons family, whose father is a captain serving in Iraq; it also included an invocation from Senior Pastor Steve Moore of Ten Mile Christian Church.
Photos: Dignitaries ceremonially cut the ribbon for the new Ten Mile Interchange (top), in anticipation of its opening later this month. Meridian Mayor Tammy de Weerd, a moving force behind the interchange (middle), talked of her next vision - reconstructing the Meridian Interchange, and Idaho Transportation Board member Jerry Whitehead offered his congratulations for the Ten Mile completion.