Community

Tell the government what you think about plans to widen Eagle, Cloverdale, Ten Mile

It could be awhile before you drive through these areas hassle free

The Ada County Highway District is having a record year: $61 million in construction work over 91 projects in 2018. Learn about ACHD's busiest road construction sites in this April video.
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The Ada County Highway District is having a record year: $61 million in construction work over 91 projects in 2018. Learn about ACHD's busiest road construction sites in this April video.

The Ada County Highway District wants to hear the public’s opinions on its plans to widen several major roads, including Eagle Road, one of the busiest in the state of Idaho.

The highway district has scheduled open house events for people to review the plans and leave feedback. Here’s that schedule, with a brief description of the district’s plans.

If you can’t attend the open house events you’re interested in, you can email comments to projects@achdidaho.org or mail them to 3775 Adams St., Garden City, Idaho, 83714. Deadlines for submitting comments are listed with the project descriptions.

Eagle Road

This project would widen Eagle to five lanes with a multi-use pathway for bicyclists and pedestrians between Amity Road and Victory Road.

Open house: 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m., Aug. 27

St. Luke’s Meridian Medical Center, Bannock Room (lower level)

520 S. Eagle Road

Comment deadline: Sept. 10

Cloverdale Road

This project would replace the Cloverdale overpass at Interstate 84 and widen Cloverdale to five lanes with curbs, gutters, sidewalks and bike lanes between Ustick and Chinden.

Open house 1: 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., Aug. 22

Spalding Elementary

12311 W. Braddock Dr.

Open house 2: 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Courtyard by Marriott

1789 S. Eagle Road

Ten Mile Road

This project would widen Ten Mile to five lanes with curbs, gutters, sidewalks and bike lanes between Ustick Road and Chinden Boulevard.

Open house: 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Meridian Library

1326 W. Cherry Lane

Comment deadline: Sept. 12

The story below was published Aug. 6, 2018, under the headline “Here are 6 projects that could snarl your commute next year. Heads up, West Boise.

If you drive Cole Road, Cloverdale Road or State Street regularly, steel yourself: You’re going to spend still more time in road construction next year.

The Ada County Highway District plans to spend almost $70 million on road improvements next fiscal year, which runs from Oct. 1 to Sept. 30, 2019. Several of the biggest projects affect arterials in West Boise, including Cole and Cloverdale.

The highway district just wrapped up an expansion that added lanes and a traffic signal to the Cole Road-Lake Hazel Road intersection. This fall, it expects to finish widening the corner of State Street and Veterans Memorial Parkway, adding car lanes and bike lanes and rerouting left turns.

The goal of many of these projects is to relieve congestion. In addition to ACHD adding lanes at Cole and Lake Hazel, developer CBH Homes has extended Lake Hazel about a mile-and-a-half east to Orchard Street and built Orchard Street about one mile north to Gowen Road. CBH was required to build those roads in preparation for the 400-home first phase of the 2,000-home, multiyear project it has named Locale. It previously was called Syringa Valley.

The new roads should be a relief to people who live in the South Cole area. They were frustrated by long lines of traffic at peak hours. The extensions provide another connection between the their neighborhood and the airport, Micron Technology and Interstate 84.

Widening roads like Cloverdale and North Cole should reduce congestion, too.

cole-lake hazel 1.JPG
The Ada County Highway District recently expanded the intersection of Cole and Lake Hazel roads in Boise’s South Cole neighborhood. This view looks northwest, with Lake Hazel running from lower right to upper left. The New York Canal passes under both roads. Provided by Ada County Highway District

But that relief might not last long. Traffic studies from across the United States have concluded that, while widening roads can ease congestion initially, in the long run it induces more drivers to use those roads, causing the same traffic problems to reappear.

Some Treasure Valley urban planning experts say the highway district and other transportation authorities should focus less on widening roads and do more to encourage public transportation and alternatives to driving, such as bicycling or walking.

The highway district’s agenda for next year includes some of those features. Most of the widened roads will have bike lanes, some of them buffered by painted strips of pavement or physical barriers like curbs. Pedestrians will get signalized crossings and sidewalks.

Here are six of the biggest projects scheduled for next year:

1. Cloverdale

The highway district has long planned to widen the section of Cloverdale Road that crosses I-84. But it wasn’t at the top of the priority list until June, when a semi truck rear-ended an SUV that was stopped on I-84 for construction near the Cloverdale overpass, killing four and causing vehicles to burst into flames.

The Idaho Transportation Department, which owns the overpass, found that the fire damaged it badly enough that it must be rebuilt.

Since Cloverdale was scheduled for eventual widening anyway, the ITD board approved replacing the damaged two-lane overpass with a four-lane bridge. That decision pushed the highway district’s board to move up the timeline for expanding the stretches of Cloverdale that approach the overpass from the north and south.

Cost: $8 million for ITD’s overpass. At least $3 million to widen the road.

2. More Cloverdale

Cloverdale Road is likely to become a major north-south arterial in West Boise. The highway district plans to widen Cloverdale to five lanes — two in each direction, with a center turn lane — next year for the two miles from Ustick Road to Chinden Boulevard.

This will give Cloverdale five lanes for the five miles from Overland Road north to Chinden.

Next year’s project will include bike lanes, curbs, gutters and sidewalks on the Ustick-to-Chinden stretch. The plan calls for buffered bike lanes, which are separated from traffic by either painted or physical barriers like curbs, on the northern half between McMillan Road and Chinden, and a traffic light at Edna Street, halfway between Ustick and McMillan.

Cost: $5.5 million

3. Cole Road

The three-lane choke point on Cole Road from I -84 north to Franklin Street will open up. ACHD plans to widen the one-mile stretch to five lanes and add medians, curbs, gutters, sidewalks and bike lanes. This project also will widen the Cole and Franklin intersection.

The highway district plans to shift the west approach to Cole from McMullen Street, halfway between I-84 and Franklin, northward so that it lines up with the east approach.

Cost: $3 million to widen Cole. $3 million to widen the Cole-Franklin intersection.

4. Linder Road

Once surrounded by farm fields, the two-lane Linder Road has evolved into a busy north-south corridor for Northwest Meridian’s new neighborhoods of single-family homes. The highway district wants to add a center turn lane to the one-mile stretch from Ustick north to McMillan, as well as bike lanes, curbs, gutters, sidewalks and a signalized pedestrian crossing at Monument Street, a third of a mile south of McMillan.

Cost: $2.4 million

5. Overland walkers

The district plans to install sidewalks, curbs and gutters on Overland Road between Columbus Street and Federal Way — about three-quarters of a mile — in Boise’s Vista and Depot Bench neighborhoods.

This stretch of road also will get bike lanes when it’s resurfaced in a future year.

Cost: $1.2 million

6. The next State Street project

Over the next decade or so, the highway district is remaking State Street between Glenwood Street and 23rd Street. This year’s Veterans Memorial Parkway intersection reconstruction is the first phase.

The Collister project is next. The district plans to widen State Street to seven lanes between Lake Harbor and Wylie lanes. It also wants to re-align the south end of Collister Road so that it runs west of Terry’s State Street Saloon instead of on the bar’s east side. That change will make Collister meet State at roughly a 90-degree angle, not the 50-degree angle it has now. Engineers say that will increase safety.

Cost: $10 million (including $8.9 million from the Federal Highway Administration)

For more information, visit the highway district’s website.

Growth in the Treasure Valley since the economic recession of a decade ago has put a strain on existing traffic arteries in Ada County.

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