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Ravell Call, Deseret News
A car enters the northbound onramp through the traffic signs at the 1600 North interchange of I-15 in Orem, Thursday, April 19, 2012.

OREM — Just in time for the mad rush of students returning to school in Utah County, Center Street is now open.

The interchange had been closed since July while construction crews rebuilt it as a single-point urban interchange, similar to 800 North and University Parkway.

The revamp of the major thoroughfare was part of the Utah Department of Transportation's Utah County I-15 Corridor Expansion, which is now about 90 percent complete.

The full project — expected to be finished by December — covers a 24-mile stretch of I-15 from Lehi to Spanish Fork. Crews have added two lanes in each direction on the freeway in addition to major improvements on numerous interchanges along the roadway.

The state originally expected to pay more than $1.7 billion for the project, but the final tab is pegged at just under $1.5 billion.

In the most recent rebuild, UDOT repaved the ramps at Center Street and under the interchange with 30-year asphalt, said I-15 CORE spokeswoman Leigh Dethman. The interchange was reopened Monday in time for the first day of classes at Utah Valley University, she said.

"Students at Utah Valley University can take the Orem Center Street interchange to 1200 West to get to class," Dethman said. "There has been some backing at the school's University Parkway entrance because of the roundabout."

She said the segment was done in close coordination with Orem and UVU.

"We recognize the inconvenience that many drivers have dealt with while this interchange has been closed," said Todd Jensen, I-15 CORE project director. "At the same time, we've been able to entirely reconstruct the interchange with new longer-lasting pavement and a design that helps traffic flow more smoothly."

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