Columbia's new diverging diamond interchange opens to traffic

Interchange is part of $12.8 million project to enhance Stadium Blvd. near I-70

COLUMBIA, Mo. - Mid-Missouri's first diverging diamond interchange opened Monday, hours ahead of schedule.

The new interchange -- located at Stadium Boulevard and Interstate 70 -- had been scheduled to open around 6 a.m., however, road crews opened the road to traffic just after midnight.

The diverging diamond interchange is unlike any traffic pattern in Mid-Missouri and involves cars crossing over to the opposite side of the road while on the overpass above I-70.

The Missouri Department of Transportation says the interchange is safer because there are no longer left turns into oncoming traffic.

During the Monday morning commute, most drivers seemed to understand the interchange and traffic was flowing smoothly.

According to an ABC 17 News crew at the interchange, only a couple of drivers appeared to be confused and attempted to go the wrong way through the interchange.

Road officials say if drivers follow the road striping and signs, there should be no problem understanding the new interchange.

MoDOT says the new $12.8 million diverging diamond interchange project will reduce congestion in the area and make travel safer.

In addition to the interchange, construction crews will still need to widen Stadium Blvd. from I-70 to south of Broadway. Crews will also widen Bernadette Drive from Knipp Street to Beverly Drive. All construction is expected to be finished by winter 2014.

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