After nearly a year and a half of ongoing construction, the new interchange at Tower Terrace Road and Interstate 380 is about to open. While drivers might be happy to have the route available again, they may be a bit confused by this new interchange design.

The Cedar Rapids Gazette reports that the Iowa Department of Transportation is planning a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the interchange on June 22nd. They hope to have the roadway open on or shortly after that date. So what makes this interchange different than others in Eastern Iowa? The Gazette reports that the Tower Terrace interchange will be a 'Diverging Diamond' interchange. It will be the third in the state of Iowa and the first on the east side of Iowa.

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The Gazette reports that the other two diverging diamond interchanges are located in Waukee and Ankeny. More are planned including at the intersection of I-80 and 1st Ave. in Coralville and at I-380 and Boyson Road. The diverging diamond interchange is designed to allow traffic to switch over to the left side of the roadway while crossing over the interstate. That allows drivers turning left onto the interstate a clean turn, rather than into oncoming traffic, according to the Gazette. 

Why the change to diverging diamond interchanges? Safety. The Gazette reports that these types of interchanges reduce crashes by 37 percent and fatal crashes by 54 percent. Officials say that drivers might first be a little "freaked out" that they're going to cross over traffic, but once they travel through they'll get the hang of it.

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