top story Road construction helps Meridian keep up with growth HollyBeechMP HollyBeechMP May 31, 2013 (…) With Meridian being the fastest growing city in the Treasure Valley, according to Ada County Highway District spokesman Craig Quintana, residents often complain about traffic woes as transportation departments rush to meet the growing needs. Greg Kreller/MP Road construction file art Greg Kreller/MP About once a week, someone calls or emails the city with traffic complaints, Meridian Planning Department Manager Caleb Hood said. Residents are feeling the growing pains as roads are rebuilt to accommodate more drivers. “Meridian has been the fastest growing city in the Treasure Valley for quite some time, and so the issue for us is to just try to keep pace — you can’t really keep pace, but to try to stay reasonably close,” Ada County Highway District spokesman Craig Quintana said. × Advertisement ACHD manages road construction and maintenance for Meridian and five other cities. It gets the final say of which projects take priority over others, but it communicates with the cities about their needs. “Coordinating those utility jobs is a big part of it,” Quintana said. “If we can get our work down along with (the city’s) work, it makes it a lot easier for the public.” Although it may not seem soon enough, Meridian Road opens back up in October after being closed downtown for about a year. But new projects are on the horizon to keep the city’s roads safe and on par with population growth. Although it improves traffic flow in the long run, construction can be a headache in the short run. “There is a level of frustration,” Hood said. “... I think it somewhat affects our quality of life here. You spend more time in the car — that’s less time you spend with your family and friends.” But compared to big cities, Hood said, Meridian’s traffic isn’t all that bad. “I don’t like to drive Eagle Road at 4:30, 5 o’clock either, but go to any metro area and it generally is going to be worse than our situation,” Hood said. about ACHD Maintains: 6 cities’ roadways 2,200 miles of roads and streets 731 bridges budget ACHD’s revenue largely stems from property and gas tax and impact fees from new development. FY2012: $86.7 million FY2013: $89.2 million, up 3 percent FY2014, projected: $80.6 million, down 9.6 percent Meridian’s piece of the pie, FY2012 $17.2 million: contributed to ACHD $23.4 million: cost of Meridian’s road projects Ada County rush hour 95,742: evening rush hour trips 137,894: projected number of evening rush hour trips in 2031 ACHD budget projections, 2012-2031 $856.4 million in road improvements to keep up with growth $1.4 billion in revenue (excludes traffic impact fees and federal aid) 67 percent directed toward maintenance and operations 33 percent directed toward new projects ITD projects ITD manages state roads, including Meridian and Eagle Roads. Rebuilding the Meridian Road interchange — the second busiest in the state — starts in February and lasts until April 2015. The $40 million project is funded through Grant Anticipation Revenue Vehicle bonds. ITD is also planning to widen Eagle Road between Franklin Road and Interstate 84 when The Village at Meridian reaches full capacity, ITD spokesman Reed Hollinshead said. The Village, a new shopping center on the corner of Eagle Road and Fairview, could create three to four times more traffic volume at that intersection, which is already the busiest in the state, Hollinshead said. The timeline and cost for the project are still up in the air. 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