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MERIDIAN Crews have started work on a 18-month-long construction project designed to replace the interchange near Interstate 84 and Meridian Road.

The project will expand the interchange to four lanes in each direction to ease traffic congestion.

With a price tag of approximately $51 million, the project is being paid for through savings from the GARVEE (Grant Anticipated Revenue Vehicle) Transportation Program and federal dollars.

Speeds will be reduced to 55 mph and lanes will be restricted over the next month while work begins.

Be patient and take a little extra time in the morning on your commutes, said Project Engineer Jayme Coonce.

Drivers should also expect construction workers on the job around the clock to get the project done in 18 months.

It s a pretty aggressive schedule already, Coonce said. We considered the least amount of impact and duration, so there is some incentive trying to encourage the contractor to build it quick and do a lot of the work on the interstate itself at night so that we have less impact to the traffic.

When complete, the Idaho Transportation Department will add another single point urban interchange to the interchange, similar to what was built at nearby Ten Mile Road.

The footprint itself takes a lot less space, and so we wouldn't have to buy as much right of way, and this one fit the footprint better for the design, said Coonce.

The project is set to be complete in October of 2015.

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