FORT WAYNE – Construction to radically alter one of the busiest interchanges in the region is expected to begin as soon as the weather breaks.
The Urban Transportation Advisory Board got an update Tuesday on the Indiana Department of Transportation's project to convert the Interstate 69 interchange at Dupont Road and Indiana 1 into a new configuration called a diverging diamond.
The $3.5 million project was awarded to Brooks Construction, and work is expected to begin in April and be complete by October.
A diverging diamond interchange uses traffic signals at each end to have traffic cross over to driving on the left side of the road through the intersection. That allows left turns to be made without interference from cross-traffic.
It sounds and looks confusing, but Northeast Indiana Coordinating Council Director Dan Avery said people who have used them instantly become believers.
Avery said he has heard more than once that people who have gone looking for them were halfway through the interchange before even realizing it.
The interchange is one of the most congested in the region, with long delays caused by traffic trying to turn left off I-69 onto Dupont Road or Indiana 1 and drivers on Dupont trying to turn left onto I-69.
The new configuration is expected to eliminate those problems, officials said.
Construction in one of the area's most congested areas is always an issue, which is why the project was delayed. Officials wanted to ensure the new interchange at I-69 and Union Chapel was complete before they started construction on Dupont.
The Union Chapel interchange opened to traffic in December and will be completed this spring. Officials expect traffic to remain flowing through the interchange during the entire construction project, except for two weekends.
To explain the diverging diamond project, INDOT is hosting an open house at 5:30 p.m. Feb. 17 at Carroll High School, 3701 Carroll Road. Those attending are asked to use Entrance No. 1, as the meeting will be in the auditorium.
The meeting will feature an open house session beginning at 5:30 p.m., with a formal presentation at 6 p.m., followed by a question-and-answer session.
After the formal presentation, the meeting will revert back to an open house session where the public will have an opportunity to talk with INDOT project officials, project consultants and contractors.