SPARTANBURG COUNTY, SC (WSPA) – Big changes are coming to Interstate 85 at Highway 290 in Spartanburg County.

The South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) plans to convert the existing interchange to a diverging diamond interchange.

The project, set to begin in mid-to-late June, aims to reduce congestion and allow traffic to flow better, according to SCDOT Director of Communications Pete Poore.

Poore said the diverging diamond interchange will be the second of its kind in the state.

“The first one that was completed was over in York County. Near Clover and Fort Mill on I-77. So, Spartanburg is getting the second one,” Poore said.

I-85 at Highway 290 is surrounded by multiple gas stations and large manufacturing companies.

Some residents said with the amount of traffic and accidents in that area, this is needed.

“Usually people are being T-boned,” said frequent driver Jessica White. “People are either not paying attention or just going through the lights.”

“It’s definitely very congested, especially during high times like morning and afternoon, and I think a lot of that has to do with the growing population,” said White. “You see new homes everywhere you look. So, it would be great if they could do something to get us on the interstate. Get us to work sooner and get us home sooner at night.”

“I’m excited about this project. I hope that the congestion in the area is relieved. I’m really excited that SCDOT has really focused on this area with the growth we’ve seen. I think that it’s definitely needed, and it’s become a safety issue, that I think our citizens deserve this attention,” said Spartanburg County Council member Jessica Coker.

“We’ve seen lots of congestion in the area specifically as it revolves around that 290 corridor,” Coker explained. “We’ve seen lots of industrial growth and residential growth in that area, which is exciting for our residents, but it’s kind of caused lots of congestion. More traffic…delayed travel times.”

SCDOT said the intersection sees thousands of cars per day.

“It’s a little over 37,000 vehicles per day,” said Poore. “It’s projected that in about 20 years from now, the count will be close to 44,000 vehicles. So we’re trying to get ahead of the curve.”

Now, the department said the diverging diamond interchange will help.

According to SCDOT, in a diverging diamond, “the crossovers in a DDI transition (or diverge) traffic from the right side of the road to the left side of the road and then back again. This means that because traffic is on the left side between the crossovers, all left turns occur without having to cross opposing traffic,” the website said.

Traffic can turn left onto and off the freeway ramps without stopping or crossing opposing lanes of traffic.

Right turns onto and off the freeway ramps occur either before or after the crossover intersections, when traffic is on the “normal or correct” side of the roadway.

Both crossover intersections have traffic lights, according to the SCDOT’s website.

“I’m excited to see how it really does relieve traffic in the area and create set opportunity for our residents to get where they need to go faster,” Coker said.

As construction is set to start soon, here’s what you should know.

There won’t be any detours put in place until the final phase of the project.

Motorists will see some lane closures and reduced lane sizes while construction happens, according to the SCDOT.

Drivers are remaining optimistic.

“If they could really make it work, as far as getting it to do what it needs to do, without confusing too many people, and causing even more commotion, I think that would be great,” White said.

In the meantime, SCDOT wants everyone to pack their patience.

“Just be patient. Motorists should be patient with us during construction. Be safe. Use extra caution driving through those work zones, and it will pay off in the end because you’ll have a much better product. Much better road and intersection to travel through,” Poore said.

Click here to learn more about the project.