Diverging Diamond Interchange Project

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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) -- It's the season of road construction and now C-DOT and the city work together to improve infrastructure on I-70.

Exit 26 on I-70 will be changing it's interface to a "Diverging Diamond." Officials say the new interchange project will help facilitate existing traffic and future development, but some in the community have concerns.

Colorado is the first state to build a Diverging Diamond Interchange that eliminates traditional left-hand turns by crossing lanes and shifting drivers to the left side of the road.

Jim Owens has been living in Fruita for 17 years and he often makes the commute from Fruita to Grand Junction and is excited about the Diverging Diamond Interstate replacing the roundabouts at Exit 26 on I-70.

“I think it's great, I think it'll really help all the drivers out here. Especially us older folks that get confused when we get out there and see some of these stupid roundabouts and don't realize what we're doing with them," said Owens.

Officials on the project say the Diverging Diamond Intersection is a new concept that has proven successful in 19 other parts of the country and will help alleviate traffic at the exit.

“People may have some hard times trying to figure it out, eventually, of course, everybody does, but the main advantages are it increases the capacity of the intersection considerably which means easier flow for traffic," said Tom Owens of the DDI Project.

Kay Fredette, who has been residing in Fruita for 30 years, had her concerns about the project, but after learning more about how the new interchange will work, she is hopeful.

“A little confused, but I think the fellas explained it pretty well," said Fredette.

An example of how the Diverging Diamond Interchange is available on YouTube.

And C-DOT officials say the new intersection will help prevent auto accidents.

“High accident rate turning onto the interstate, left hand turn onto the interstate going West bound and we felt that this was the best scenario and configuration to put traffic in and safely get them onto the interstate," said Jason Smith an engineer at C-DOT.

The cost of the Diverging Diamond Interchange project is much lower as well. The I-70 DDI will cost 4 million dollars to construct and other alternatives estimated between 10 and 15 million.

Next Monday, July 8th, the construction will begin at the Exit 26 I-70 interchange.

This C-DOT project is being done in conjunction with the 22 Road Project and officials estimate it will be completed by Christmas.

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