VIDEO: Diamond interchange opens after 6-month construction

Monday, October 14, 2013 | 1:12 p.m. CDT; updated 9:14 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, October 15, 2013
The Missouri Department of Transportation announced plans Tuesday to reconfigure the interchange at Stadium Boulevard and Interstate 70. Construction on a new diverging diamond interchange will begin in mid-March along with other projects designed to alleviate traffic along Stadium Boulevard.

* Renee Hulshof is a talk show host for KFRU. An earlier version of this story incorrectly listed the station call letters. 

COLUMBIA — A new interchange on Stadium Boulevard over Interstate 70 opened Monday morning without the honk of a horn or the squeal of brakes.

The project is a significant change for motorists. As drivers approach the highway from Stadium Boulevard, they will cross from the right side of the road to the left.

This interchange will "reduce congestion and make travel in the area safer," allowing motorists to turn right onto I-70 without waiting for a lull in drivers coming the opposite direction, according to a Missouri Department of Transportation news release.

The interchange opened to a small but steady stream of traffic Monday. As the morning work rush picked up, lengthy lines formed behind the new traffic lights. Despite the rush of people heading to work and yellow buses rumbling to schools, frustrating congestion was minimal, and the wait at the lights wasn't significant.

This Missourian reporter crisscrossed the interchange a few dozen times. After a disorienting first trip, where the urge to drive on the right side of the road was hurriedly suppressed, the laps became easier.

*Renee Hulshof, talk show host for KFRU and driver on the interchange Monday morning, said the signs and road painting made her maiden lap a breeze.

"Super easy," she tweeted. "(The) signage and lines (were) well done."

Hulshof shot three videos of the interchange and shared them with the Missourian.

This one shows what it looks like to drive east on I-70, exit at Stadium then turn right to continue south on Stadium and get in the left turn lane at Bernadette:

This one shows what it looks like to drive north on Stadium to the interchange, then cross to the left side of the interchange to get on westbound I-70.

This one shows what it looks like to drive west on I-70, exit at Stadium, then turn left to continue south on Stadium and turn right on Bernadette.

The overpass was closed starting Friday as crews put the finishing touches on the project. The closure, in fact, snarled traffic more than any confusion from the new interchange.

Although the weekend was chosen specifically because Mizzou football was playing an away game, a Boone County Joint Communications alert Saturday warned drivers to avoid the West Boulevard and Providence exits because traffic was backed up.

Construction on the interchange began in the spring of 2013 and is part of a $12.8 million construction project at Interstate 70 and Stadium Boulevard. This is the first interchange in mid-Missouri, but they have also been built in Kansas City, St. Louis and Springfield, according to previous Missourian reports.

Supervising editor is Edward Hart.

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