WEST FARGO — The new interchange design on Sheyenne Street and Interstate 94 is the first of its kind in North Dakota and replaces what was once an exit onto a rural county road.
With the new design, traffic flow is expected to be 60 percent more efficient, as there are three lanes under the bridge in each direction providing better turn and driving lanes.
There will also be signal lights under the bridge that will help guide drivers as they enter and leave I-94.
Although some drivers have already been using the new exit onto I-94 on the southeast corner, this next week could involve use of the new loops on the southwest and northwest sides of the interchange.
"We're going to phase some of it into use," said Justin Oss, project engineer for the North Dakota Department of Transportation.
By mid-October, the entire new interchange and new bridge over Sheyenne Street will be operational.
Oss said it's going to be a learning lesson using the new interchange, as it's something drivers aren't used to.
However, besides the improved traffic flow he said the other advantages are longer loop ramps to prevent backups onto the interstate, continuous northbound traffic flow on Sheyenne Street, improved roadway drainage and safer pedestrian walkways through the interchange where walkers and bikers will never face traffic.
Oss said it will also be safer as traffic conflict points are reduced in the area.
Redoing the interchange was the top priority in the metro area, said Oss, and has been a two-year project. He said there are not a lot of similar designs in the region either. However, he said it's used a lot in other states where there is limited space to redesign an interchange.
The official name for the interchange is a modified single point urban interchange design. A video has been produced to help drivers get a better picture of the new design. Also posters are being shown around West Fargo detailing for people the ways to enter and exit the interchange.