The diverging diamond freeway interchange in Perrysburg opened to traffic for the first time Monday morning, though some closures continue to divert evening commuters.
Cones and orange barrels marked the way for drivers heading over State Rt. 25 — also known as North Dixie Highway — at the I-475/U.S. 23 interchange near Levis Commons. Traffic flowed both north and south on North Dixie Highway, though several lanes remained closed to traffic and motorists traveling from I-75 southbound to I-475 could not get off at northbound Rt. 25 Monday evening.
Many area drivers were still in the habit of avoiding the construction Monday morning, though a few braved the new intersection.
“I think it’s confusing,” Don Rahman said. “You’re doing the opposite of everything you’ve done since you learned to drive.”
The main "diverging diamond" features are intersections at either end of the freeway bridge where traffic on State Rt. 25 will cross over to the left side of the roadway, then back to the right at the other end.
HOW DOES IT WORK: See a graphic of the lane changes
The pattern allows left turns to be made onto the freeway entrances continuously, with no need for separate traffic-signal phases to govern those turns.
“I think it’ll work out good once people figure it out,” Mr. Rahman said.
Jerry Mockensturm had not yet driven the new diamond, but knew that the intersection needed some change.
“It’s usually pretty jammed up,” he said. “This will be good after I get used to it.”
Since traffic heading both north and south on State Rt. 25 has unimpeded access to I-475, backed-up traffic in the left turn lane should be a thing of the past.
"Those left-turn movements are what really congested and bottled down this interchange," Michael Stormer, the Ohio Department of Transportation's district traffic engineer from the Bowling Green office, said during a meeting on the interchange last week.
Cecil Jackson does not often drive State Rt. 25, and did not have any issues with the new pattern on Monday.
“It’s a little weird,” he said. “Once people get used to it, I think it will be OK.”
Robert Rex had not driven the intersection, but regularly drives a similar intersection at Central Avenue in Sylvania Township.
"It was a bit different at first but I figured it out now," he said.
Rebecca Shirling, ODOT's district spokesman in Bowling Green, said the interchange will only have one lane open each way for about the next month while crews finish roadwork. Crews are expected to finish the work by mid-October.