In just a few days, drivers who commute on Interstate 95 will see vast changes at a busy highway exit in Boca Raton. It’ll be the first of its kind in the county, marking a major shift in how drivers travel around the area.
To help people entering and exiting I-95, the busy interchange at Glades Road is being revamped into an unconventional, yet increasingly popular new formation: a “diverging diamond.” A weaving, diamond-shaped pattern, the interchange briefly sends drivers on the opposite side of the road to allow for safer and easier left-hand turns to and from I-95.
The Florida Department of Transportation will put the final touches on the interchange during the weekend of Jan. 27 before officially opening to the public on Jan. 30.
Here are four things you need to know about the interchange.
Prepare for road closures
As part of a $148 million project to overhaul the gridlocked area, construction on the interchange has been ongoing for more than a year, but slowdowns have been limited with most of road closures taking place during nighttime hours. However, that will change next week.
Beginning at 11 p.m. Jan. 27, all access to and from Glades Road at I-95 will be restricted as crews finalize the project. The road will reopen to traffic in the new configuration at 6 a.m. Jan. 30.
Additionally, the Florida Department of Transportation is currently extending I-95 express lanes into Boca Raton to south of Linton Boulevard in Delray Beach, which will result in an additional lane in both directions. Construction on the added express lanes, which began in November 2019, is expected to be finished by the end of 2023.
How it works
Boca Raton’s diamond interchange will send westbound drivers over to the left side of the road while going over the I-95 bridge.
They’ll have the choice to get on I-95 north or south, or stay on Glades Road.
The lane then will switch back to the right side of the road.
According to the Florida Department of Transportation, the interchange is projected to reduce crashes by a third by Glades Road and I-95.
Gaining in popularity
Diverging-diamond interchanges are becoming more common for planners across the country. The first such interchange in the United States opened in 2009 in Springfield, Missouri.
Since then, over 100 have been created across the country and many more are being planned, according to the Institute for Transportation Research and Education.
Miami-Dade has two diverging diamonds, while Broward and Palm Beach are both considering additional formations.
Would you like to know more?
In order to help familiar drivers with the new formation, the Florida Department of Transportation is holding a virtual meeting from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Thursday.
Project officials will discuss what drivers should expect with the new formation and answer questions about the interchange.
The meeting can be accessed by visiting https://tinyurl.com/GladesRoadDDIVPM.
People can also call in at +1 (213) 929-4212. The access code for the meeting is 355-527-473.