Diverging Diamond Interchange Set To Open Sunday

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Florida’s First Diverging Diamond Interchange is opening this Sunday, 3 weeks ahead of schedule at the interchange of I-75 and University Parkway. The new interchange is expected to improve traffic and safety, and Florida’s Department of Transportation is making sure drivers are prepared.

Pull up to the light, and then stay to your left. That will allow drivers to enter I-75 without waiting for a left-turn signal.

“As you approach the interchange itself,” Marlena Gore said. “You will move to the left side of the highway or diverge, that way you’re eliminating your opposing left turn movements, and you basically have a free flow onto the interstate.”

Project Manager Marlena Gore says newly installed traffic signals and signs at the interchange help show drivers the right way to go.

“Pointing you in the direction of where you need to go once you get past that traffic signal,” Gore said. “And again with the sign on the right that says no right turn, and what that’s trying to tell you is that when you’re starting to go through the diverging diamond pattern, you don’t want to go to the right because then you’re going to be in oncoming traffic.”

With the new design, the only time you interact with opposing traffic is at the far ends of the diverging diamond.

“You’re never really crossing anybody,” Gore said. “Because they’re sitting back at their traffic signal, and your proceeding through on your traffic signal. So, you don’t have that crossing pattern anymore.”

By allowing drivers to enter the interstate on the left side of the road, your improving traffic and safety .

“You’re eliminating your conflict points,” Gore said. “Which is where you come into your accidents and your turmoil when you’re coming through the interchange, and that’s the biggest benefit of a diverging diamond is the safety benefits that is included.”

Off-duty Highway Patrol will be on scene the first couple of days to assist drivers.

And remember when you’re driving on the interchange don’t be distracted.

“Put your phones down, put food or makeup or whatever down,” Gore said. “Don’t be distracted. Pay attention to your signalization, your signage, your striping, we’re going to have a significant amount of help out here for you.”

Gore asks drivers to be patient, and says it should take one time driving through to get the hang of it.

Road closures will be in place overnight Saturday in anticipation of implementing the Diverging Diamond, and Sunday morning the new pattern will open.

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Samantha Sonner
Multimedia Journalist Samantha Sonner comes to the Suncoast from Las Cruces, New Mexico, where she worked as a reporter and host for KRWG TV/FM reporting on local politics, immigration, and border issues. Samantha grew up on Long Island, New York. She received her Bachelor of Science in Broadcast and Digital Journalism from Syracuse University. At Syracuse, she worked at WAER, the campus NPR station and interned at television stations in Central New York. Samantha is excited for the Florida Sunshine, and to be living so close to fantastic beaches. Feel free to follow her on Facebook and Twitter for story updates and news, or to send her story tips and ideas. You can also email her at samantha.sonner@snntv.com.