Driving on the Left: I-70's Diverging Diamond Interchange
KREX News Room
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. - The city of Grand Junction and the Colorado Department of Transportation are partnering on projects to improve safety and traffic flow on Highway 6 & 50.
The projects come with a combined $8 million price tag and would feature newer construction methods never before used in Colorado.
Officials with the city tell NewsChannel 5 the projects arose out of a need to accommodate for commercial and industrial growth in the near future and for projected traffic increases into 2035.
"These improvements will upgrade the streets so that [the city] can handle the increased volumes and the increased truck traffic that we'll see from I-70," said Paul Jagim, project engineer for the city Grand Junction.
The city will begin by realigning the 22 Road and Highway 6 intersection. It will be moved 500 feet west.
The $4 million project lengthens the intersection spacing with the I-70 interchange ramps. Construction is expected between March and Aug. of this year.
The Colorado Department of Transportation will then construct a diamond diversion interchange for exit 26 of Interstate 70. This interchange is the first of its kind in Colorado.
"You can build it for less than a traditional interchange, but it handles a lot of traffic," explained Jagim.
This type of interchange eliminates the left-hand turn by briefly shifting drivers to the left side of the road.
It will cost the city $4 million, versus the traditional diamond or clover interchange, which come with a $10 to $18 million price tag. Construction is expected between June and Nov. of this year.
"It's a relatively new style of interchange that has been used in Missouri and in Utah, [as well as] a few other places around the country," added Jagim.
Officials say, although the new design may be confusing for drivers at first, studies in other states show high driver approval due to the improved safety and traffic flow.
It has taken the city a little more than a year to complete the design for both projects.
Funding for the 22 Road project is being provided by traffic capacity payments (fees collected from developers) and the city's general fund.
The diverging diamond interchange is partially being funded by C-DOT's FASTER safety funds (Funding Advancements for Surface Transportation and Economic Recovery, or SB 09-108). FASTER dollars come from a portion of C-DOT's vehicle registration fees.
An open house is planned for Tuesday, Jan. 15 from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Westgate Inn, 2210 Hwy. 6 & 50 in Grand Junction. It is open to the public.