The number of vehicles that use the on- and off-ramps at the Zion Crossroads interchange every day equates to about half the entire population of Louisa County.
Virginia Department of Transportation spokesperson Stacy Londrey said that in 2010, more than 15,200 cars used that interchange each day. That figure is expected to rise to 26,400 per day in 2035.
As a result, VDOT officials identified a need to increase capacity of the I-64 off-ramps at Zion Crossroads in 2007. Combined with the forecasted increase of traffic due to the area’s commercial growth, this prompted a study of potential interchange options.
In addition to the diverging diamond interchange project (DDI), VDOT analyzed the construction of a single-point urban interchange, improvements to the existing diamond interchange and a no-build alternative. According to VDOT, the DDI produced the best results based on today’s traffic volumes, as well as those projected for 2035.
The new design will be the first of its kind in Virginia. The second will be built in the Roanoke area and is expected to be completed slightly behind the Louisa County project.
While new to Virginia, the design has been around since the 1970s, where it first appeared in Versailles, France. There are only five DDIs presently in the United States, with the first having been built in Springfield, Missouri in 2009. Since then, two others were constructed in Missouri and one each in Tennessee and Utah.
Londrey said that the DDI is designed to improve safety along Rt. 15 and to increase the road’s capacity. Once completed, the road should be able to handle more than 600 left-turn movements per hour, twice the capacity of a conventional interchange, Londrey said.
If you live, work or shop in the Zion Crossroads area of Louisa County, be prepared to allow more time than usual to get through the area starting Wednesday, May 29.
To read the entire story, see the May 23 edition of The Central Virginian.