LINN COUNTY, Iowa — It's been the talk of the town; hundreds of people have made comments on social media on the new diverging diamond interchange on Tower Terrace Rd. near I-380.
The general consensus from those social media comments have been that the whole thing is going to be a mess.
However, the Iowa Department of Transportation is offering clarity on the interchange and they're saying it's the safest alternative for the area.
The new diverging diamond interchange, or DDI, on Tower Terrace Rd. will be complete by the end of June.
This type of interchange is a newer concept in Iowa.
Jesse Tibodeau is an engineer with the DOT. He says it's the safest option for what is anticipated to be heavy traffic areas.
"It improves safety because it reduces the number of conflict points. It reduces the opportunity for people to collide," said Tibodeau.
Another benefit is that it makes it easier for drivers to make left turns.
The diverging diamond interchange will also cut back on the amount of land that would need to be taken to put up another route alternative.
Tibodeau says the plan outline might make people nervous, but he assures motorists have nothing to worry about.
"It's a brand new interchange-type for this area, so it could be a little scary at first. But, really, if you drive through it, it's very intuitive. We have pavement markings down, we have signing, we have traffic signals," he says.
A nationwide study by the Transportation Research Record shows these interchanges could handle any size vehicle, including semitrucks.
It is said that the flow of traffic is easier, and, when looking at other diamond interchange options, they cut crashes by 50% as well as nearly eliminate the most severe types of crashes.
The DOT has a tutorial on how to get familiar with the drive.
"The DOT has a YouTube video that spells out the benefits of the DDI, as well as how to drive through them. There's also a drive through video as part of that YouTube video," he said.
When it's all said and done, the price tag on the project will be $22 million, with Cedar Rapids and Hiawatha each contributing $5 million toward the project.
It was also a collaborated effort with Marion and Robins.
There are currently two DDIs already in place in Iowa, both being in Polk County.
By 2025, Iowa will add four more DDIs to highways across the state including in Coralville, Cedar Rapids, Hiawatha and Des Moines.