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Local 5 - weareiowa.com | Des Moines Local News & Weather | Des Moines, Iowa

New 'diverging diamond' interchange opens to make Ankeny travel safer

The interchange at I-35 and First St. in Ankeny will open in phases, starting Sept. 24.

ANKENY, Iowa — If you live in or drive through Ankeny, your commute is about to get a whole lot easier and safer.

Mid-Thursday morning, the first phase of the "diverging diamond" interchange is set to open. It'll open in phases to allow drivers to familiarize themselves with the new traffic patterns.

Thursday, entrance ramp to northbound I-35 will open.

Benjamin Hucker, resident construction engineer with the Iowa DOT, says it'll be a whole lot safer.

"If you want to go northbound on I-35, it's just a simple left-hand turn directly onto the ramp--no more crossing of oncoming traffic," said Hucker. "That's one of the benefits of the diverging diamond."

The through traffic will be able to cross onto the right side of the road and exit to E First Street in Ankeny.

"This reduces multiple conflict points at a traditional diamond interchange, to two conflict points," said Hucker.

The DOT even has a YouTube video to illustrate how to navigate the unique structure of the interchange.

Here are the stages of the project's opening, listed on the Iowa DOT's website:

  • Sept. 24 - First Street and the entrance ramp to northbound I-35
  • Week of Sept. 28 - The exit ramp from northbound I-35 to First Street
  • Week of Oct. 5 - The entrance ramp from First Street to southbound I-35
  • Early November - Southbound I-35 and the southbound exit ramp from I-35 to First Street

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