SUPERIOR, Colo. -- Big changes are coming for drivers in Superior and Louisville as the Colorado Department of Transportation is bringing a new concept to the Front Range called Diverging Diamond Interchange.
CDOT closed the McCaslin Boulevard bridge over U.S. 36 starting Friday night through Monday morning. When it reopened, CDOT said it will have a different look so drivers need to be extra cautious.
Closing the bridge for the weekend opened driver frustrations.
“It’s not good. It’s really inconvenient,” said a young woman driver who did not give her name.
Customers at area businesses saw the signs that a closure was coming.
“We got a lot of frustrated customers,” said Christina Ebbons, who works at Superior Liquors.
She knows a thing or two about bottlenecks and not just the kind she sells.
“It gets backed up that way and this way, as people try to get on and off the highway,” she said about the roads that connect to the bridge from Superior and Louisville.
That’s why CDOT is building the DDI.
“The backups are significant. It takes two minutes to go through this interchange. In the morning, cars back up all the way up the hill,” said Alex Ariniello, Superior Public Works director.
This is how it’ll work. Drivers getting onto U.S. 36 will be diverted to the left side of the road through a traffic signal and directly onto the highway. No longer do drivers have to stop or wait for oncoming traffic to pass.
That’s because oncoming traffic will also be diverted to the opposite side of the road.
“It will reduce congestion. It will be about 30 percent more efficient. And we hope accidents will be about 50 percent less than they were before,” Ariniello said.
And businesses hope customers return to levels it was before.
“I think once people can get across the bridge and get to Costco and us, things will pick right back up. We look forward to it being done,” Ebbens said.
The new interchange will also add bike lanes in both directions, which the bridge didn’t have before. It will also have a covered pedestrian walkway in the center.
And the 10,000 bus riders going through there a day will save a minute in wait time because a new bus lane will travel underneath the off-ramp, avoiding traffic lights altogether.
Crews still have to pave ramps, build sidewalks and medians, and erect the bridge arch. All that work will be completed by the end of the year. Until then, traffic will also flow in two lanes in each direction, instead of three.
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