NAMPA, ID — If you're anything like truck driver Johnathan Fusselman and have driven on Interstate 84 in Canyon County recently, chances are you've hit a slow down when the highway narrows..."you drive five days a week along this corridor, it is very backed up there." Especially during rush hour, "I have seen personally seen, in the last 20 years, this area has doubled in size." Now, the wheels are turning on some long-desired change.
"We're gonna be spoolin' up here just in the next few weeks," said Jake Melder, Public Information Specialist, Idaho Transportation Department (ITD).
Fusselman is one of several dozen people who showed up Tuesday to ITD's open house to review a $343 million dollar investment, which, for starters, adds an additional lane on each side of I-84 between Franklin and Karcher Roads, "I thought I would put my two cents in with them, ya know?" Melder says an I-84 expansion project will begin soon, "expansion of I-84! We're really excited that we're going to be able to start construction on that this summer," said Melder. They'll be using the grassy median area to expand inward for those extra lanes, "these improvements are going to be able to give us suitable mobility as well as maintaining the safety. Crashes are a big problem around here, right?"
Fusselman says he's somewhat pleased with that, "it's better than the existing. I would have liked to have seen four...if it's already under construction, let's think a little bit ahead and plan for it." But Melder says an additional lane would have been costly to taxpayers, "that's like 12 extra feet; to carry that out for miles-- it can be very expensive for all the earth that you need to move-- property that you need to buy."
But like many at today's event, Fusselman's still all smiles, "I'm glad to see that's happening. And as a truck driver I will just put up with the construction and be happy with the outcome." Other plans include adding auxiliary lanes-- also referred to as exit-only lanes-- between Franklin Blvd. and Karcher, updating overpasses like Middleton and Ustick roads, and making on and off ramps safer in the area, "if you live on the Western end of the Treasure Valley, you can anticipate construction for many years to come," said Melder.
Tonight's open house will be held at the Caldwell Best Western Plus (908 Specht Ave.) It will begin at 4 p.m and end at 7 p.m. For more information on this construction project, visit ITD's website or text 84CORRIDOR to 22828.