PHOENIX, Ore. — The Oregon Department of Transportation is unveiling the new design for the Exit 24 interchange off of I-5 in Phoenix. The planning process has been in the works for 10 years, and now it’s coming to life.
Out at the Exit 24 interchange in Phoenix, there are four traffic lights at this intersection alone, and people NewsWatch12 spoke with say this leads to traffic backups during rush hour… and it’s not biker or pedestrian-friendly. The new design is called a diverging diamond interchange and is the only one of its kind on the west coast.
“Once you come up to the interchange, you will be directed to cross over to the left side and while that will be different, we will have signs, legends and frankly things that will blind you to that other traffic, so it will seem like going on a one way street,” explained Project Information Specialist Gary Leaming.
The design eliminates all left turns in an effort to move traffic through the intersection quickly and efficiently.
“The number of signal phases, there’s only two basically, so you’re either going or you’re not,” said Leaming.
Construction crews will break ground on the project this spring, but the construction is set to last for two years, and with that comes traffic delays and road closures, something that worries local businesses in the strip mall nearby.
“It will have an impact on our business. Anytime you have traffic backed up, it’s bound to impact people’s desire to come out,” said Shirley Jackson of Shirley’s Boutique and Bridal Salon.
Jackson says it’s going to be difficult to make it through the two years, but hopes in the end the construction will have a positive impact on her business and the mall in general.
“Once we have better in and out, and we get more retail stores that want to be out here, I’m sure people avoided it because they didn’t want to be going through two years of construction and I think once it’s completed it will be an asset to our area,” said Jackson.
The total cost of the interchange reconstruction project tops out at $72 million. Bidding to find the right contractor will start here at the end of October. ODOT says they plan on having one selected by the end of the year.