IDOT unveils new interchange to speed up traffic

Sitting in traffic is something we can all agree isn’t fun, so engineers developed a new intersection to make your trip faster and safer.

It involves a roundabout in Marion, Illinois, at the intersection of Russell Street and Boulevard Street along with a state-of-the-art intersection near The Hill Avenue.

When Marion Mayor Bob Butler first approached the Illinois Department of Transportation about adding another overpass 12 years ago, IDOT program development engineer Carrie Nelson admits she was skeptical.

"Marion is growing, and it's located on both sides of the interstate,” said Nelson. “The interstate, while a crucial link for Marion, is also blocks traffic."

Nelson and Butler agree the first-of-its-kind diamond interchange will solve that problem.

"These are very closely spaced interchanges, but we were able to combine the ramp systems to accommodate both interchanges so close together," said Nelson.

"It's simply an indication that Marion is a city on the move," said Butler.

Navigating the interchange can be confusing. You cross traffic at a stoplight and drive on the left side of the road. After crossing the overpass you can turn onto the interstate without stopping or continue on into town after crossing another lane of traffic.

"By creating Morgan Avenue, it immediately alleviates some of the congestion on Illinois 13," said Nelson.

"This is the perfect area for commercial development,” said Butler. “With the street and highway system that we have, it's going to happen."

The diverging diamond interchange cost the city of Marion $15 million to tie into the nearby $40 million IDOT project on Illinois Route 13.

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