Taking a look at Virginia's first diverging diamond interchange before one opens in Roanoke

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LOUISA COUNTY, Va. (WSLS 10) - After years of planning and construction, the Valley View mall interchange off of Interstate 581 is set to open to drivers on Monday evening.

The diverging diamond will be the second of its kind in Virginia, the first is located off of I-64 between Charlottesville and Richmond.

Drivers say the new interchange there has helped relieve traffic congestion.

"I like it, it flows, traffic is much easier from before," said driver Gui Berry.

Others had some trouble understanding the traffic pattern.

"Confusing at first, but as long as you do what you're supposed to do as a driver and follow directions and signs, you should have no problems," Travis Weeks, another driver said.

Even business managers say the interchange has helped them as well.

"It's been great, we're getting good flow off the interstate and there never seems to be congestion," Drew Keuchler, the manager of Lelo's Pizza said.

VDOT leaders say the diverging diamond interchange is new to the United States and it started in France in the 1970s.

The first state to build one was Missouri back in 2009.

The interchange in Louisa County was the first in Virginia and it cost about $7 million and took a little more than a year to complete.

"The diverging diamond was an opportunity for us redo and renovate the intersection to make the traffic flow smooth," Stacy Londrey, the Communications Director for the Culpeper District, said.

The interchange is proving it's keeping people safe; VDOT leaders released the numbers of traffic accidents 13 months before and after the interchange was built.

Before, there were 12 crashes and after, there were four, which resulted in a 66 percent reduction in the number of crashes.

"We like the diverging diamond because of its efficiency, but also certainly because of its safety, the area is very well signed the pavement markings are clear," Londrey said.

About 1,000 tractor-trailers come through the area daily, and drivers feel the interchange can help alleviate congestion in other places of the commonwealth.

"Especially with the population steady growing, it's a blessing, I'm looking for the new infrastructure," Kelvin Turner a tractor trailer driver said.