Viera Boulevard ramps opened early July 1
Studies predict that the Viera Boulevard diverging diamond interchange will reduce crashes.
Check out our photo gallery of the first cars using the new Viera Boulevard ramps here!
If the stars line up as expected, the access ramps to and from Interstate 95 at the Viera Boulevard diverging diamond interchange will be open for business on Monday, July 1.
“The access ramps to and from I-95 are scheduled to open in early July,” said Jessica Ottaviano, the communications specialist for the Florida Department of Transportation’s District 5.
The project team is busy trying to finish minor details that involve areas of the interchange closest to the access ramps.
“Leaving the ramps closed until completion will allow the team to safely finish all final activities, which include but are not limited to final paving and striping, sidewalks, signals and lighting work,” Ottaviano added.
“Weather and other unforeseen circumstances may affect these dates,” she said.
The Space Coast’s first Interstate 95 diverging diamond interchange had a soft opening in February of this year, but drivers have yet to be able to access I-95 from Viera Boulevard.
The $17 million project is expected to relieve congestion at the neighboring Fiske Boulevard and Wickham Road interchanges. A similar interchange is in the works farther south in the Palm Bay area.
Sarasota has the distinction of being the first city in Florida with a diverging diamond interchange, which also happens to be the largest of its kind in the nation. The first DDI in the United States made its debut in Springfield, Missouri in 2009, but they have been used in France since the 1970s.
A DDI, also called a double crossover diamond interchange, allows two directions of traffic to temporarily cross to the left side of the road, moving high volumes of traffic through an intersection and providing easier interstate access without increasing the number of lanes and traffic signals.
Diverging diamonds are considered safer than traditional diamond interchanges because they have fewer conflict points where two cars could collide if one of the drivers does not follow the rules. Once motorists get used to it, it is easy to navigate and it eliminates last-minute lane changes. It also offers better sight distance at turns, which should translate into a better driving experience and fewer crashes.