Another diverging diamond interchange comes to the suburbs
Suburban commuters in Will County passing through the I-55 and Weber Road interchange could usually count on one thing -- traffic congestion.
Illinois Department of Transportation officials promised that scenario will change for the better Monday as they announced the completion of an interchange redo featuring a diverging diamond model.
The project in the Bolingbrook/Romeoville area is the fourth diverging diamond interchange in Illinois. Others are located at the Reagan Memorial Tollway and Route 59 in Naperville, Route 83 and the Jane Addams Tollway in Des Plaines, and in downstate Marion.
The counterintuitive design uses traffic lights to guide vehicles temporarily into the left lanes to avoid making turns against oncoming vehicles, reducing crashes and easing congestion.
"We did not just modernize an interchange and road," IDOT Secretary Omer Osman said. "We built a community asset that connects each other and the places people need to go."
About 35,000 vehicles drive through the interchange daily.
Bolingbrook Mayor Mary Alexander-Basta described how high traffic volumes, particularly semitrailer trucks, made "the interchange at I-55 and Weber Road difficult to navigate and at times dangerous."
"This new diverging diamond proves to be a great solution," she said.
Diverging diamond interchanges take up less land than traditional cloverleaf designs. "It's more compressed," Director of Highways Project Implementation Stephen Travia said. "But its real claim to fame is its efficiency on turning traffic."
Illinois' diverging diamond projects have one commonality -- high volumes of left-turning traffic, Travia noted.
The rebuild involved adding a third lane in each direction on Weber Road between Rodeo Drive/Remington Boulevard and Normantown Road and also included pedestrian and bicycle access and paths.
The cost was $96.7 million, with Will County contributing $21 million.
Two additional diverging diamonds are under construction in the Joliet area -- at I-55 and Route 59 and at Houbolt Road at I-80.
IDOT officials also updated the status of one of the agency's most consequential and lengthy projects -- the rebuild of the Jane Byrne Interchange that connects the Eisenhower, Kennedy and Dan Ryan expressways.
The Byrne Interchange will finish this year with all lanes open, engineers said Monday. Some minor work involving landscaping and bridge painting will be completed in 2023.