MERIDIAN -- A major road widening project is now underway in downtown Meridian.

The city of Meridian and Ada County Highway District celebrated a groundbreaking today at the intersection of Meridian Road and Cherry Lane.

Meridian Road will close between Franklin Road and Cherry Lane for the project, which involves widening the road and upgrading sewer and water services.

Construction begins with sewer work north of the intersection.

Work on the $8-million project could take up to a year.

When plans were first announced earlier this year, business owners expressed concerns about a year-long closure.

Certainly it's going to cause inconvenience to the motoring public, but more so, it causes inconvenience to the neighbors and the businesses in this corridor, said Meridian Mayor Tammy de Weerd. This short-term inconvenience is for a long-term solution to moving traffic, and to having a viable and prosperous downtown.

Businesses along Meridian Road will remain open and you will be able to access them.

North-south detour routes include Main Street, Linder Road and Locust Grove Road.

Pine Avenue will remain open during most of the construction, except some weekend and night closures.

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