EphrataDDiamondA27

An innovative, $10.9-million upgrade to the routes 222/322 interchange near Ephrata begins next week.

The work will take place overnight with traffic restrictions lifted during the day, the state Department of Transportation said. The project is expected to be completed by May 2022.

PennDOT chose a new kind of interchange design, called a diverging diamond, for the upgrade.

First used in Missouri in 2009, the new design reduces vehicle-to-vehicle conflict points from 26 in a conventional interchange to 14.

A study found that the Missouri interchange eliminated left-turn crashes, reduced right-angle crashes by 72% and rear-end crashes by 29%.

Pennsylvania’s first diverging diamond was built in Washington County.

Besides reducing the number of crashes, the new design is expected to reduce traffic backups and promote walking by improving sidewalks along Route 322.

The project includes pavement resurfacing, reconstruction and widening, ramp reconfiguration, new traffic signals, lighting, and other improvements between Pleasant Valley Road and Hahnstown Road in Ephrata and West Earl townships.

Work this month will include site prep, utility work, temporary paving, line painting, drainage and installation of erosion and sediment controls.

Work next week includes the construction of sign structure foundations, removal of the concrete median on Route 322 and temporary paving in the median area and on the Route 322 on-ramp to Route 222 northbound.

This work will be performed during the night, when there will be lane restrictions on Route 322 and traffic shifts on the ramp. A 12-foot width restriction will be in place during work hours.

The contractor is J.D. Eckman Inc. of Atglen.