New South Mountain Freeway to utilize "diverging diamond interchange"

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The Arizona Department of Transportation released a video rendering of the South Mountain Freeway, and it features a new addition to our state - diverging diamond interchanges. 

One interchange will be at Desert Foothills Parkway, and another at 17th Avenue. ADOT said there will likely be a learning curve for some drivers. 

"Traffic will be crossing on the left hand side of the road briefly and this will allow drives to make unimpeded left-hand turns in between the highway ramps," said Dustin Krugel with ADOT. 

Other states have them, as well. You would drive straight through the first traffic signal and cross in front of oncoming traffic that is stopped on your right at a traffic signal. So you’ll be on the left, opposing traffic on the right, separated by concrete barriers. Then you'd cross at another traffic signal back to the other side of the road.

Krugel said there will be one less traffic signal to have to wait for, and they’ll have some safety features.

"Signs, traffic signals, pavement markings and also a raised concrete island where the lanes criss-cross," he said.
Krugel added studies have shown these interchanges reduce traffic fatalities, and they’re becoming pretty popular nationwide. 

"In the United States there’s more than 80 including 20 in 2016 alone in 14 states," Krugel said. "So we believe they're going to be a good choice."

Krugel said they plan to roll out an education campaign before the highway's completion in 2019.

Copyright 2017 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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