JOHNSON COUNTY, Ind (November 23, 2015) -- The Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) and the city of Greenwood held a ceremonial ribbon cutting Monday for the first diverging diamond interchange in central Indiana, at Interstate 65 and Worthsville Road.
Crews were supposed to stripe pavement this weekend, but the snow and cold temperatures prevented the work. INDOT expects the interchange to open sometime Wednesday.
The project carries a $16.1 million price tag and is a collaboration between the city of Greenwood and INDOT.
The diverging diamond in Johnson County is the first in central Indiana and the second in the state of Indiana. The style of interchange is now being used across the country.
“It takes a bit of effort to get used to it, but once folks get used to driving on them, it’s really a successful type of design,” said Brandye Hendrickson, INDOT Commissioner.
The traffic pattern may appear confusing, but experts said it is safer. Vehicles making left turns don’t have to cross opposing traffic, and more green time at lights moves traffic faster.
INDOT said the first diverging diamond in the state, put in place in Fort Wayne, cut crashes at that interchange by more than 65 percent in a year’s time.
Greenwood Mayor Mark Myers said the interchange will ease congestion, taking 30,000 vehicles off the interchange at Main Street daily.
“We are providing a quicker route home and to work for people down here on the south side but also a safer route home and a safer route to work every day,” said Myers.
Myers also hopes the increased traffic along Worthsville Road will open up the area to increased economic development.
“It’s a great thing for the economy of Greenwood,” he said.
Jon and Eloise Taylor operate a farm market nearby. They said they’ve lost business because of the construction but hope more cars passing by will bring new customers, that is, if they don’t get too confused about which way to go.
“It’s confusing when you first hear about it, yes it is,” said Eloise Taylor. “As long as you follow the arrows and pay attention to the lights, you can’t help but go the right way.”
INDOT will be closing lanes Tuesday morning at 11 on Interstate 65 to finish striping for the project. Delays are expected.
The city of Greenwood also must open its own project on Worthsville Road for the interchange to be operational. Again, that is expected sometime Wednesday.
INDOT is exploring the diverging diamond interchange for other locations in the state. Hendrickson said one is planned in Hamilton County at Interstate 69 and exit 210.