New interchange, worth $10 million, opens near St. Cloud

Published 9:59 am Friday, October 18, 2013

ST. CLOUD — An unusual interchange, that’s been two years in the making, is finally opening near St. Cloud.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation said the $10 million project opening Thursday is the second “diverging diamond” interchange in Minnesota, but the first to use a traffic signal system. A diverging diamond interchange opened in Olmsted County in September.

The interchange, sometimes called a double crossover diamond, allows two directions of traffic to cross to the opposite side on both sides of a freeway bridge. Pedestrians and bicyclists travel on the center bridge of the interchange. Transportation engineers said the interchange improves safety since no left turns must clear oncoming traffic.

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“When you eliminate the left turn across opposing traffic, you eliminate one of the more dangerous traffic movements a motorist makes any given day,” said Sue Groth, state traffic engineer. “By eliminating that movement and programming the signal system to accommodate the new traffic flow, we expect to see strong long-term improvements in both safety and mobility at this site.”

The diamond-shaped interchange has motorists cross in front of oncoming traffic that is stopped to their right. The new interchange will ease traffic in one of city’s fastest growing areas.

The project was constructed by MnDOT in partnership with Stearns County, Sartell and St. Cloud.