SPARTANBURG, S.C. (WSPA) – Crews began construction this week on the Highway 290 “Diverging Diamond Interchange Project.”

It’s happening right off of Interstate 85 at Exit 63 in Duncan and is expected to take two years to complete.

Right now, the South Carolina Department of Transportation said the area sees more than 37,000 drivers daily, which creates heavy build ups of traffic during rush hour in the morning and at night.

“Between 6:30 – 7 it’s usually very much congested,” one driver told 7 News.

The interchange is a gateway to manufacturing and warehousing facilities, two truck stops, and schools.

Congestion forces drivers like Veronica Rivers to either sit in traffic or find another route.

“I usually take Berry Shoals Road and just take the long way around sometimes because traffic is really ridiculous on that road,” said Rivers.

The new design, according to engineers, is expected to fix that problem.

“It moves traffic anywhere from 10 to 60 percent faster, but it also increases safety by 50 percent or more because you don’t have what’s called conflicting vehicles,” said SCDOT spokesperson Pete Poore. “Vehicles will sort of be avoiding each other as opposed to turning left into each other or right into each other.”

Duncan Police Chief Shandrell Holcombe said that has been a serious issue on that portion of the roadway recently.

“We’re really focusing on that area pretty hard right now,” Holcombe said. “We’re trying to get everybody to understand that this is an area that we need to slow down and take a little bit more caution in that area.”

He asked that drivers to be patient.

“Everybody knows that with changes comes growing pains, so for the next couple of years there’s going to be tension in that area because there is going to be a lot of construction work being done,” said Holcombe.

Chief Holcombe told 7 News they’re going to add more patrols along Highway 290 to monitor traffic.

“This month was a high month of incidents in this area,” he added. “Our department worked 44 and over 80 percent in that one area. So, what we really want to do is focus on that area and help everyone to be mindful of that.”

The DOT said there will be seven phases with a completion date set for June 30, 2024.

“The first phase is phase zero. The reason they’re calling it phase zero is because there won’t be construction of new stuff per say, it’s going to be removing concrete medians and things that need to be moved out of the way,” said Poore.

Poore told 7News that no detours will be in place until phase 6.

“Phase six is the final work where the interchange is converted into a diverging diamond,” Poore said. “And what will happen is paving will take place, new signals, new curb, all sorts of things like that, new striping and it’ll all be done between a Friday night and a Monday morning.”

Nighttime lane closures will be in place to complete the project but no daytime lane closures are expected unless there’s an emergency.

The contract for the Highway 290 Diverging Diamond Interchange Project is nearly $18 million.

It is all federal money— with funding coming from the state’s interstate program.