Originally a simple intersection on the old U.S. Route 66, a ramp system built in 1965 was nearly immediately obsolescent. The new interchange, known as the “Big I,” has 55 bridges, compared to 15 on the old one. The new interchange is designed to handle 400,000 vehicles daily, compared with 40,000 for the old one. By 2000, about 300,000 vehicles a day were using the cramped old interchange.
There is some final work to be done, such as coating the new ramps with a special friction layer that conducts water away from the surface, erecting sound walls, striping and finishing touches on the frontage roads. But the two-year project will officially be finished with a grand opening on May 25.