The new, unconventional I-95 exit at Glades Road will finally debut in Boca Raton next year

A massive first-of-its-kind project in Palm Beach County, the new diverging diamond interchange at Glades Road, will transform the way people enter and exit the freeway. But drivers will have to wait just a little bit longer before the unique roadway is unveiled.

To help people entering and exiting I-95, the busy Boca Raton interchange 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.

Part of the state’s $148 million project to overhaul the gridlocked area, the diverging diamond was initially slated to open to the public in the fall, but is now scheduled to debut at the end of January due to weather-related delays from Hurricane Ian and Hurricane Nicole.

Following the hurricanes, the Florida Department of Transportation decided to push back the date “to be mindful of the high-volume holiday traffic in this area” in November and December and “chose a late January 2023 implementation to help minimize impact to the public during the holiday season,” a spokeswoman for the Florida Department of Transportation said.

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.

Glades Road by I-95 is one of the busiest roadways in Palm Beach County during afternoon rush hour due to a variety of factors, including hundreds of students leaving Boca Raton High and Florida Atlantic University and the proximity of popular destinations such as the Town Center mall and University Commons.

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. 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.

Due to the unique new traffic patterns, the state will hold a public meeting on January 11 from 5:00 pm to 7:00 p.m. at Boca Raton’s Spanish River Library to help educate drivers on the new interchange. There will also be an online public meeting on January 12 from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

The first diverging diamond 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.