WEST DES MOINES, Iowa -- It’s been six months since a first of a kind intersection opened in the western metro. The diverging diamond interchange opened at the Grand Prairie exit off of interstate 80 in December and it’s been a success so far.
“Commuters are pleased with the new route,” said Waukee Public Works Director John Gibson. “Grand Prairie Parkway has allowed traffic to be diverted off of Jordan Creek Parkway, and we’re consistently hearing from residents that they are shaving 4-5 minutes off of their commute times, both ways, thanks to the more direct route to I-80.”
In addition to the reduction in drive times the interchange is providing a safer route for drivers.
“I think so, yeah. It’s a different interchange, it’s gonna take some getting used to,” said Scott Suhr, Iowa Department of Transportation. “With the elimination of the conflict points and obviously it moves traffic safely and more efficiently than a typical interchange with cross traffic and what not.”
Suhr goes onto say that one of the most encouraging items with the interchange is they made it through a winter season without an accident. The Waukee Police, West Des Moines and Iowa State Patrol all state that they have not issued a citation at that intersection. The Waukee Police said they have issued tickets for speeding in the 2-mile stretch north of the interchange.
The hope is that the interchange will bring about additional development and growth for both cities.
“We’re excited to see what development will come from opening a new gateway to Waukee,” said Gibson.
“The full potential of the interchange is yet to be realized as West Des Moines makes the connection of Grand Prairie Parkway to Mills Civic Parkway to the south this year,” said Jim Dickinson, City of West Des Moines. “The interchange is built to accommodate the growth of West Des Moines and Waukee in the area it serves.”
While the early results are encouraging the DOT will not get complete results until they conduct survey of western portion of metro this summer. They have not surveyed the western metro since 2012.