It will be a little late, but early this afternoon highway crews will open the new interchange at Kansas 7 and U.S. 24/40 in Wyandotte County.
The interchange has been closed since March so the state could build a safer interchange that would be able to deal with increasing volumes of traffic.
Even though the interchange is opening today, drivers are advised to expect some lane closures on U.S. 24/40 through next Monday.
The $35 million project was supposed to be done by mid-November, but was delayed because of weather and other "contractor related scheduling issues," including work carried over from the 2007 construction season, an official said.
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The project eliminated the cloverleaf that was in place at that location, removing tight loop ramps that took drivers from eastbound U.S. 24/40 to northbound K-7 and from westbound U.S. 24/40 to southbound K-7.
Vehicles heading north or south on K-7 will now make left turns at traffic signals at both sides of the interchange.
Ramps with broader turns have been built for traffic moving from K-7 to eastbound or westbound U.S. 24/40.
The cloverleaf was built in 1955, but traffic volumes have increased because of development, making the interchange a chokepoint. Traffic has increased almost threefold since 1955 and it’s expected to double by 2026.
The interchange averaged about 22 crashes a year from 2002-2006. Of the 108 crashes that occurred, 20 were injury accidents.