All 12 lanes open to traffic; final tasks being undertaken at night only
The state’s first diverging diamond interchange (DDI) — at Interstate 75 and University Parkway — has become fully operational, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) announced on July 31.
All 12 lanes of University Parkway have opened to traffic, an FDOT news release says. The largest interchange of its kind in the U.S. debuted its new crossover traffic pattern on May 21, the release notes. “Since then it has received rave reviews from drivers for ease of use and elimination of severe traffic backups to improve overall traffic flow,” the news release continues.
“FDOT is proud that we were able to open all 12 lanes of the nation’s largest Diverging Diamond Interchange on time and ahead of the upcoming World Rowing Championships,” said FDOT Secretary Mike Dew in the release. “The new interchange will significantly benefit the residents of Sarasota and Manatee Counties as well as the millions of visitors who come to see this beautiful area of our state,” he added in the release.
“FDOT specifically chose the DDI for its superior performance and safety benefits for motorists and pedestrians while moving high volumes of traffic through the intersection,” including the high volumes of left turns to reach the interstate, the release continues.
“This new design will not only improve the efficiency of the interchange, providing a better commute on both University Parkway and I-75, but will also increase safety for all road users, including motorists, cyclists and pedestrians,” FDOT District One Secretary L.K. Nandam pointed out in the release. “FDOT is also proud that we were able to meet our commitment to the community by getting this interchange fully opened prior to the World Rowing Championships.”
FDOT’s contractor, Prince Contracting LLC, met contractual obligations by fully opening the DDI to traffic in July, the release explains. Crews will be working on the final construction tasks — which involve installation of the last layer of asphalt and roadway lane striping —during overnight hours only, the release points out. Construction will be suspended from Sept. 16 through Oct. 3 for the World Rowing Championships at Nathan Benderson Park, the release says.
A beautification and landscaping project at the interchange will begin in the spring of 2018, the release notes.