St. Johns interchange to fully open Wednesday

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Construction crews this week will fully open a new interchange at state Highway 500 and St. Johns Boulevard. A ribbon-cutting ceremony will mark the occasion Wednesday, according to the Washington State Department of Transportation.

Workers have spent the past 15 months rebuilding he formerly signalized intersection into a freeway-style interchange. A new bridge now sends St. Johns up and over Highway 500, with the two thoroughfares connected by four ramps. Highway traffic now passes freely underneath St. Johns.

The eastern side of the interchange opened earlier this year. The western ramps will open after Wednesday's ribbon cutting, which is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. The entire interchange should be open in time for the Wednesday evening commute, according to WSDOT.

The $48 million project aims to improve traffic flow and safety in an area that sees 65,000 drivers daily, according to WSDOT. This week's opening of the interchange comes three months ahead of schedule, project officials said, but paving and landscaping work will continue on the site until early 2013.