Work will begin anew on diverging diamond at interstate’s Exit 26

After almost 10 weeks of weather delays in the ambitious road construction project at Interstate 70’s Exit 26, crews are set to get back to work Monday on the innovative “diverging diamond” concept being constructed in north Grand Junction.

The interstate interchange under construction there is a new and innovative concept, according to the Colorado Department of Transportation. The diamond configuration is intended to carry much more traffic than conventional interchanges, and safety is increased based on the decreased number and severity of crashes associated with the design.

Accidents that do happen in diverging diamonds are at angles that eliminate the deadly “T-bone”-type crashes seen with traditional intersection designs, according to CDOT.

After suspending the project for the past 9 1/2 weeks because of weather and poor working conditions at the site, work will begin again Monday with crews from Lawson Construction prepping the diamond’s new lanes to receive traffic. That traffic switch is expected to happen Thursday evening.

After that traffic switch, a few more weeks of work are expected as crews do some off-traffic improvements like site grading, landscapes and sidewalks. The project is expected to be finished in March.

CDOT touts the project’s cost — an estimated $4 million versus the usual $10 million to $15 million price tag for traditional intersection reconstructions.

Part of the cost of the project is being covered by the state’s FASTER — or Funding Advancements for Surface Treatment and Economic Recovery — program, which is intended to fast-track the repair or replacement of poorly rated bridges and roadways across the state.

Two new full-service truck stops are planned for the immediate area around the new diverging diamond interchange.


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