The last of the orange and white traffic barrels have been moved and the finishing touches at the diverging diamond intersection at Interstate 66 and U.S. 15 are now done. Officials from Prince William County, the Virginia Department of Transportation, or VDOT, and the Town of Haymarket recently cut a ribbon for the diverging diamond intersection, the first in Northern Virginia.
Prince William county Supervisor Pete Candland spoke at the ceremony and said the new intersection would ease commuter frustration and promote economic progress in the Haymarket-Gainesville area. "Every day tens of thousands of vehicles come through this previously gridlocked intersection that had become the poster child for traffic congestion and a choke point."
Candland went on to thank everyone who worked on the project. He also said work must continue across the county. "This is just the first step of many projects that need to be addressed in our area. While we try to relieve gridlock here, this needs to be replicated all over Prince William County. From Route 15 to Business 234 and I-66, to Route 28 to Route 1 and I-95, there's so much more that needs to be done. We need to now focus our attention and limited resources on those projects."
According to the VDOT website, "Diverging-diamond interchanges shift vehicles to the opposite side of the road and eliminate left turns that cross into oncoming traffic, improving safety." Traffic signals at each end of the interchange reduce "red light" time for motorists. The new intersection eliminates 90-degree left turns that cross into oncoming traffic, shifts traffic patterns and allows vehicles to turn left onto the highway without stopping.
VDOT District Construction Engineer Bill Cuttler said the diverging diamond intersection will move twice the number of vehicles as a traditional diamond interchange. "It will relieve congestion, enhance safety operations and capacity, as well as accommodate forecasted traffic demands in our area."
According to VDOT, the $59-million project, which began in Sept. 2015, was completed on time and on budget and included construction of two longer bridges, as well as improvements to Route 15.