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Meridian’s landscape is changing. Watch out commuters!

Jennifer Gonzalez

New development in downtown Boise has been garnering lots of attention in recent weeks.

With the approval of a Whole Foods and Walgreens, and now construction Jack’s Urban Meeting Place scheduled to begin as early as summer 2012, downtown will be buzzing with activity very soon.

However, it’s not the only place in the Treasure Valley’s that’s targeted for new development. Have you driven around Meridian recently, or spied how fast construction of the new Ten Mile Interchange is taking place? Once it’s finished, which, according to ITD could happen as soon as next summer, plan on seeing some serious development start popping up, stat!

Peter Oliver, principal at Brighton Corporation, in Boise, said the interchange, once completed, will look similar to Vista’s interchange, “except on steroids.” The good news though, is if you check out the comprehensive plan for the Ten Mile area on the City of Meridian’s website, future development will be kept in check, and won’t turn the area into the bottleneck disasters of Meridian or Eagle Roads, (which during rush hour, you find me anywhere near!).

But that’s not the only corridor that Meridian will see developed. With the recent appropriation of $77.9 million in GARVEE bonds, ITD will also be constructing a new north-south highway that will eventually linkHighway 16 to State Street, then Chinden, and eventually I-84. The first phase of the highway could be built starting in 2012.

“Strategically, this is very significant and more than just a local corridor,” said Reed Hollinshead, ITD spokesman.

It will eventually link eastern Canyon County to western Ada County, impacting more than just Meridian, but also Emmett, Star, Middleton and Nampa. The good news, said Meridian Planning Manager Caleb Hood, is that it could improve traffic in one area, only to create further traffic woes in another.

Since funding is only appropriated toward the first phase of construction, it doesn’t include improvements to Chinden itself, which, is a two lane roadway in the proposed area of development, Hood said. It could also dump a lot more traffic onto two-lane streets in downtown Meridian, which could bump up congestion further.

Down the line, dependent on where the money comes from, the corridor will provide another access point to the freeway. However, with no funding timeline available, commuters will experience some headaches. Keep in mind though, as fast as the Treasure Valley is growing, building necessary roadways can’t be too far behind (cross your fingers).

About Jennifer Gonzalez

Jennifer Gonzalez covers construction, real estate and development news. Contact her at jennifer.gonzalez@idahobusinessreview.com or 208.639.3515.