EAGLE -- It is one of the most heavily traveled roads in Ada County and during rush hour it's a crammed mess.
A new traffic signal is in the works on Eagle Road between Fairview Avenue and Ustick Road for River Valley Street. The Idaho Transportation Department already installed it, although the lights won’t officially be turned on until May 1st.
ITD said the intersection will soon be packed even greater with vehicles because of the new Meridian Town Center. The signal will allow safe access to and from the project site. Idaho Sand & Gravel Co., of Nampa, is doing the work on behalf of CenterCal Properties LLC, the owner of the new development.
Although, not everyone is happy about another stop light on Eagle Road, Reed Hollinshead with the Idaho Transportation Department said the installation of a new traffic signal takes careful consideration.
“There has to be real compelling reason to do that,” said Hollinshead. “In this case when it has to do with safety, especially the safety of school children then that is a decision that is easy to make.”
River Valley Elementary School sits at the end of River Valley Street located on the west side of Eagle Road.
“School busses have to come out in the afternoons and I think it’s hard for them to get out,” said Scott West who owns a wealth management firm on River Valley Street. West sees firsthand the congestion on Eagle Road during peak traffic hours.
“I usually sit in the median for a minute or two and then I can pull in,” he said.
“For me it's a good thing, there is a lot of traffic coming down Eagle heading south every single morning and like I said I have to wait awhile, so a light will be nice,” said West.
But for some drivers who use Eagle Road daily, another stop light likely means another stop in their busy schedule, Teresa Heinz is not a fan of the new traffic light.
“More congestion and another reason to avoid Eagle,” she said.
Heinz remembers driving down Eagle Road a number of years ago much differently that what it is like presently.
“It used to be when I moved here the reason to avoid Eagle is you didn’t want to get stuck behind farm equipment because it was two lanes and that was your biggest concern. Now it’s either a car accident or you are going to be sitting waiting because of a light,” said Heinz.
The Ada County Highway District reports nearly 50,000 vehicles travel Eagle Road every day. 2,200 vehicles use River Valley Street every day. The nearby Eagle and Fairview intersection is the busiest in all of Ada County, making it one of the most heavily traveled road sections in the Treasure Valley.
“It’s terrible there is so much traffic all the time it’s like never clear,” said Shelley Moreno. “It is kind of a nuisance but being across from a school is probably a good idea.”
Hollinshead agrees, and said the need to control traffic on Eagle Road is important.
“In this case when it has to do with safety especially the safety of school children then that is a decision that is easy to make,” He said.
ITD installed the traffic signal early to get drivers to take notice that they are coming.
ACHD said once the signal goes into operation, they will monitor traffic flows and work to minimize delay for Eagle Road drivers. Once the east side of River Valley develops, additional adjustments will need to be made if needed.