Get up to speed on Interstate 84 road work

Over $100 million of I-84 and interchange improvements taking place

adutton@idahostatesman.comJune 14, 2014 

Boise and Meridian grew so much in the past 50 years that the areas around major highway interchanges could no longer keep up with the traffic.

The Idaho Transportation Department hired contractors to start rebuilding a few Interstate 84 interchanges this year. When the three local interchanges were built in the 1960s, a total of 25,150 vehicles would travel under, over and through them each day. Now it's about 254,000 vehicles - with a pressure point at Meridian Road from that city's explosive growth.

When construction wraps up in late 2015, the three interchanges will be ready for as many as 560,000 vehicles per day.

The projects are being paid for with bonds backed by future federal highway grants and current federal transportation aid. All the work is on schedule, even at at Meridian Road, where a semitrailer truck struck the overpass earlier this month, said ITD spokesman Reed Hollinshead.

MERIDIAN INTERCHANGE

Where? I-84 between Meridian and Five Mile roads.

When? Crews will work through fall 2015.

What's the project? If you've ever been stuck in traffic where I-84 narrows at Meridian Road, you know the agony, the aggravation, the yearning for just one more lane.

The state is widening that part of I-84 from three to four lanes in each direction. It's also rebuilding, replacing and refinishing lanes, shoulders and a storm-drain system on I-84 east of the interchange, along the stretch between Meridian and Five Mile roads.

Just off the highway, Meridian Road will expand to three lanes in each direction - with new curbs, gutters, sidewalks and bike lanes - between Central Drive and Overland Road. The project will create dual left-turn lanes on Meridian Road for each of the I-84 on-ramps.

Why is it happening? The interchange was built in 1965. Traffic then was about 10,650 vehicles per day - less than one-tenth of today's 128,000 average daily traffic count. The new interchange will be able to handle 284,000 vehicles.

Who's doing it? Concrete Placing Co. of Boise is the contractor.

How much will it cost? $50.8 million.

What's the schedule for lane closures, other obstacles? Crews will be at work day and night. I-84 will be two lanes from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. weekdays and 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. weekends, but at least three lanes will be open during the day. Nearby parts of Meridian Road will be narrower than usual, sometimes reduced to two lanes.

BROADWAY INTERCHANGE

Where? Interstate 84 at Broadway Avenue in East Boise.

When? It's expected to last until late 2015.

What's the project? Broadway Avenue will keep two through lanes, but it will gain two dedicated left-turn lanes for people heading to I-84 eastbound. The bridge and ramps will be replaced, and I-84 between Broadway and Gowen Road will be expanded to three lanes each way.

Broadway Avenue will get new curbs, gutters and sidewalks. To cut down on noise, the sound wall will stretch along the westbound on-ramp to I-84 and Broadway.

(Separately, the state plans to replace the 50-year-old Broadway Bridge over the Boise River north of the interstate. That project is slated to start next year.)

Why is it happening? The interchange was built in 1969, when about 8,850 vehicles used it each day. That number is about 70,000 now. The state wants it to accommodate about 149,000 vehicles per day.

Who's doing it? Concrete Placing Co. of Boise is the contractor.

How much will it cost? $26.7 million.

What's the schedule for lane closures, other obstacles? The switch to temporary lanes and signals occurred earlier this month. Expect one-lane travel on southbound Broadway until next year. All lanes on I-84 will be open during the day, but crews will be working 8:30 p.m. to 5 a.m. during the week and8:30 p.m. to 7 a.m. weekends, so there will be lane restrictions and the occasional overnight closure.

GOWEN ROAD INTERCHANGE

Where? Interstate 84 at Gowen Road in East Boise.

When? It's scheduled for a late-2015 completion.

What's the project? Gowen Road will have two widened lanes going through in each direction, with a third lane added to the eastbound side of Gowen Road until it hits Federal Way.

As Gowen approaches I-84, crews will build dual left-turn lanes for the westbound I-84 on-ramp, and one left-turn lane for the eastbound I-84 on-ramp. From Federal Way, there will be two dedicated right-turn lanes to I-84 westbound as well. The on- and off-ramps will be longer and wider.

The interstate will expand from two to three lanes between Gowen Road and Broadway, and the bridge and ramps at Gowen are being rebuilt as part of the overhaul.

Why is it happening? The interchange, like its western counterpart at Broadway Avenue, is 45 years old. Traffic was 5,650 daily when Gowen Road's interchange was built, but it's now around 44,500 vehicles per day. The project will prepare the area to handle a traffic count of 127,000.

Who's doing it? Knife River Corp. is the contractor.

How much will it cost? $27 million.

What's the schedule for lane closures, other obstacles? Plan for lane restrictions on I-84 starting at 8 p.m. every day. Lanes will open back up at 5 a.m. weekdays and 7 a.m. weekends. Expect at least one lane open on I-84 both ways, but watch for crews on the shoulder and slow down to 55 miles per hour.

Audrey Dutton: 377-6448,Twitter: @IDS_Audrey

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