Access to Meridian from Interstate 84 just got easier

The Press-Tribune, Nampa
(Photo courtesy of KTVB)

After 22 months of construction, the new Ten Mile Interchange opened to drivers headed home on their evening commute Wednesday (May 25).

The $33.8 million project began in August 2009 and adds a new access point to the busy stretch of Interstate-84 between Boise and Canyon County.

The opening of the Ten Mile Interchange will be great news for our community as well as the region as a whole, Meridian Mayor Tammy de Weerd said.

"That six-mile stretch between the Meridian Interchange and the Garrity Interchange has challenged that traffic access and circulation...I think it's certainly is an asset to West Ada County and East Canyon County providing citizens in both those two counties with greater access."

Although the interchange is open, construction will continue below the bridge on the median section with some lane restrictions until that work is complete. Warmer months are best for the paving that will take place on the median section.

"The project should be fully complete, including all landscaping, by early August," said ITD's Reed Hollinshead said.

About the interchange
The interchange design, called a single point urban interchange, is similar to the new Vista Interchange in Boise. ITD distributed a flier with driving tips to businesses and residents in the immediate area.

Traffic engineers say the design is more efficient for drivers because all turning movements are controlled by a central set of signals. Motorists only stop once at the center of the interchange, instead of twice as at other interchanges.

"The interchange design is a good long-term choice for Meridian," Jason Brinkman, GARVEE Program Manager for ITD, said in a press release. "The engineering analysis showed that the design created fewer delays and improved efficiency when compared to a traditional diamond interchange design."

Commercial development in the interchange area
With new access to the area around the Ten Mile Interchange comes the possibility for economic improvements.

"With any access that is created or improved you see gas stations, entertainment options, convenience stores," Hollinshead said. "All of those things are anticipated in that area."

For business owners already in the area it will also bring better access.

"Essentially it brings more people past your front door. More traffic, more visibility," Hollinshead said.

Meridian Mayor Tammy de Weerd said the city worked on an area specific plan to encourage smart development in the interchange area.

"We have put in a vision for that area that has mixed employment and commercial, office and industrial areas with high density that is well planned and integrated with the transportation spine," she said.

The mayor said they hope to attract many new businesses to the area, with some who already plan to start construction this summer.

"As a community you cannot build yourself out of congestion, but you can bring jobs closer," de Weerd said. "We do hope that we can get those needed jobs closer to where people are living.

Whats ahead?"
Completion in August will mark a turning point for commuters on I-84 who have slowed through construction for years on the freeway. Hollinshead said work on the Garrity interchange will be complete by June and work in Boise between the Cole and Broadway interchanges will also be finished by August.

Work between the Garrity and Franklin interchanges in Nampa will continue through early 2012, he said, at which time all planned projects in the area on the freeway will be complete.

Since improvements have already been made to the Robinson and Black Cat overpasses on I-84, Hollinshead said the only possible future project in that stretch will be the improvement of the Meridian Interchange, although no definite plans have been made for that yet. Improvements for the stretch of I-84 between Nampa and Caldwell are also possible in the future.

Ten Mile Interchange by the numbers

Project features

  • Four lanes and center turn bays on Ten Mile Road.
  • New on- and off-ramps to and from I-84.
  • Bike lanes and crosswalks on Ten Mile Road between Franklin and Overland.
  • Extension of Tasa Drive under Ten Mile Road and out to the new Overland Road.
  • An undercrossing for Tasa Drive traffic, south of I-84.
  • An undercrossing for future development traffic, north of I-84.
  • Landscaping on the four interchange islands, the on- and off-ramp slopes and the medians on Ten Mile Road funded by federal stimulus dollars.
  • Extension of an irrigation pipe that will bring water from the citys water treatment plant to the interchange area funded by federal stimulus dollars.
  • 411 construction jobs created or sustained by the project
  • $33.8 million project cost
  • $580,000 landscaping cost funded by federal stimulus dollars
  • 2.6 million pounds of concrete in the interchange structure
  • 1.3 million pounds of rebar in the structure
  • 19,300 tons of asphalt on Ten Mile Road
  • 904,000 cubic yards of earth hauled in for the project
  • 32 feet, 8 inches width of old Ten Mile Overpass
  • 173 foot average width of new Ten Mile Interchange


Ten Mile timeline

  • August 2006: Environmental process began
  • August 2009: Construction began
  • May 25, 2011: Interchange complete
  • Mid-June 2011: Anticipated closure of third eastbound and westbound lane
  • August 2011: Anticipated I-84 paving completion and re-opening of third lane


10 reasons why you'll like new interchange

1. Traffic on Franklin, Overland and Meridian roads is predicted to drop by 11 percent by 2030.
2. The traffic volume at the Meridian Road Interchange is expected to drop by 34 percent by 2030.
3. Delay times at the Meridian Road Interchange are expected to drop by 48 percent by 2030.
4. When traffic or accidents hold up I-84, the interchange will provide an additional opportunity to exit the freeway to get around the congested area.
5. If you miss your exit at either Garrity headed eastbound or Meridian headed westbound, you have a closer opportunity to exit and reenter I-84.
6. Less backtrack time headed to East Nampa and West Ada County.
7. Use of Ten Mile Road will allow for less congestion on Black Cat Road.
8. It offers an alternative way to reach East Nampa instead of Happy Valley Road.
9. Landscaping and architecture on the new interchange provide an aesthetic view.
10. It brings enhanced public safety with additional access to respond to emergencies on I-84.

Published 5-27-2011