The new County Road 96 bridge over I-35W in New Brighton is open to traffic this morning. MnDOT opened the road and the new Diverging Diamond Interchange (DDI) put in as part of the $11.7 million project Thursday night.

A DDI allows traffic to temporaily cross to the opposite side of a road, and then back to their original lane while being guided by traffic lights. MnDOT officials say the interchanges which eliminate left turns across traffic are safer, increase mobility and reduce congestion.

Pedestrians cross to the middle of the bridge and walk in the middle between the eastbound and westbound lanes with protective barriers on either side.

The DDI at County 96 and 35W is the first in the north metro. MnDOT put one in on I-494 at 34th Avenue in the south metro a couple years ago.

The project led by Ramsey County also included rebuilding of ramps at the interchange and installation of new signal systems

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Traffic shifts in place along I-35E in St. Paul

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Hennepin is first county in Minnesota to achieve Bicycle Friendly status