For years, the city of Meridian has wanted to create a smooth-flowing, pedestrian-friendly corridor through its downtown.
The city is getting its wish, making parts of Meridian Road one-way and widening the parts that remain two-way. That setup will get through traffic onto the wider Meridian Road and limit the more narrow two-way Main Street to local business traffic.
But with that wish comes major construction, and travel is going to be disrupted for about a year.
But try not to despair, Meridian residents: By this time next year, you should be enjoying the fruits of your inconvenience.
The Ada County Highway District and the city broke ground on a complex road-widening and sewer and water project Monday. During the construction phase, Meridian Road will be partially to fully closed from the railroad tracks to just south of Cherry Lane.
When completed, the $8 million project will have a new one-way crossover arrangement that gets through traffic from Main to Meridian north of Franklin Road. Meridian will be widened to five lanes with sidewalks between Franklin and Cherry Lane.
The first phase of the project, completed in August 2009, converted Main Street and Meridian Road to one-way streets between Interstate 84 and Franklin.
During construction, all streets crossing Meridian Road will be closed except for Pine Avenue. Main Street will remain open during the months of work, but drivers should expect heavy traffic backups. Motorists are encouraged to use Linder or Locust Grove roads whenever possible.
Residences and businesses along the closed portion of Meridian Road can be accessed during construction. Businesses closest to Meridian/Franklin and Meridian/Cherry intersections will have access via Meridian. Businesses located within the closed section of Meridian will utilize side streets and alternate accesses off Main Street, 1st Street, 4th Street, Pine and Franklin. Directional signs will help drivers navigate the construction area.
WHILE WERE DIGGING...
The project also includes upgrades to the citys water and sewer services. Services for some residents and businesses might be affected. However, most water shutoffs will be intermittent and last no more than 30 minutes. Water might need to be shut off for up to four hours occasionally.
Affected residents and businesses will be notified of shutoffs lasting longer than 30 minutes. Residents and businesses will be notified at least 24 hours in advance.
Cynthia Sewell: 377-6428, Twitter: @CynthiaSewell