The new interchange at Roe Avenue and Interstate 435 is scheduled to open Thursday night as the Kansas Department of Transportation introduces the state’s second diverging diamond intersection.
Construction began in April and the old Roe bridge over the highway was razed in May, causing headaches for motorists who rely on that route.
The new interchange, at a cost of $9.5 million, is meant to improve traffic flow, especially during rush hour.
The old bridge was built in 1970. Increased traffic had led to delays for traffic trying to turn left onto I-435.
The diverging diamond “is a unique form of diamond interchange in which the two directions of traffic on Roe Avenue will cross to the opposite side of the road at each ramp intersection,” according to the Transportation Department. “This type of interchange … significantly improves safety, since left-turn movements do not conflict with opposing through movements.”
More information about diverging diamonds can be found on the department website.
The diverging diamond concept originated in Europe. The Missouri Department of Transportation built the first one in the United States in Springfield in 2009. There is also one at Front Street and Interstate 435 and at Interstate 29 and Tiffany Springs Parkway. Another is under construction at Missouri 291 and Interstate 49.
The first diverging diamond in Kansas opened a year ago at Interstate 35 and Homestead Lane in southern Johnson County.