Drivers Work to Maneuver Diverging Diamond Interchange
Diverging diamond interchange
The orange barrels are gone and all lanes are open on a first-of-its-kind interstate interchange in Virginia. Construction crews completed the diverging diamond at Interstate 64 in Zion Crossroads this week.
The nearly $6.9 million diverging diamond is one of the first on the east coast - now, it's up to drivers to figure their way through the unusual configuration.
The Virginia Department of Transportation admits it will take drivers time to get used to, but some drivers aren't so sure the confusion through this half-mile stretch of road will ever go away.
Robin Bryant's corner of Zion crossroads is one stop light away from the new I-64 diverging diamond interchange.
“This diamond or whatever they're calling it, that thing is causing nothing but havoc, confusion, congestion,” said Bryant.
Neighbors call her the “Queen of Zion Crossroads,” because she's always making the rounds.
“I drive it every day and it's confusing more and more every day,” said Bryant.
Bryant calls the criss-crossing traffic “VDOT's disaster.”
“They was fools, because it's a waste of money,” said Bryant.
Maryland trucker Richard Timmons questions the redesign too.
“I'd like to meet the man who thought it up,” said Timmons. “Ask him why? What was the purpose really? I didn't know where I was going.”
Crews put the final signs up Wednesday to direct traffic through the diamond.
Drivers on Route 15 shift to the opposite side of the road to cross the interstate. VDOT expects the interchange to double the number of cars that can get on I-64 each hour.
“I think the impact will be felt as the years go on. We design projects not for the current year but for the future,” said VDOT spokesperson Stacy Londrey. “I think it will become more efficient and useful as time goes on."
The diamond is designed to eliminate dangerous collisions that come with left turns. The state says the interchange has had zero serious accidents since construction started last summer.
“We anticipate that will stay the same. That's part of the design of this project,” said Londrey. “Vehicles don't have to cross over, making those left-hand turns to get on and off the interstate.”
Bryant advises her visitors to find another route to Zion Crossroads.
“People's just guessing down here. It's a guessing game on how to get through there,” said Bryant.
VDOT is asking drivers to pay close attention and drive defensively as people get used to this new interchange.
The state says that's especially important because of the number of tourists traveling through on an interstate like 64.
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Thursday, July 24 2014 5:06 PM EDT2014-07-24 21:06:07 GMT
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