TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — KGUN9’s Operation Safe Roads looks out for new, safer ways to deal with congestion. ADOT tried a new design for the busy intersection at Houghton and I-10. We asked drivers how they like the change.
When ADOT re-did the intersection at I-10 and Houghton it was a big change for drivers used to a more typical interchange where one road just crosses the other. Now, after a few months of use, what do drivers think of it now?
What ADOT calls the diverging diamond design is a very different driving experience. Instead of a typical intersection where traffic crosses at right angles with maybe some exit ramps, the diverging diamond guides drivers through curves that eliminate the need for drivers to stop and wait to make a protected left turn.
Ernesto Retana says, “I’ve only been coming to the side of town for about two weeks. So the first time I hit it, it completely threw me off to a point where I thought I would drive it on the wrong side for a split second.”
This is the first Diverging Diamond intersection in Southern Arizona but ADOT’s used them for several years around Phoenix.
Doug Nick of ADOT says, pay attention, follow the signs, and you’ll be fine.
“And so it seems to be moving much more smoothly. And we've had two reported crashes, both non-injury. That was in January so we're talking about since September up to now. The backups have been largely eliminated and we've seen very few crashes so it looks really good.
Norvell Harris says he’s glad his first trip through the interchange was in daylight so he had a good look at it.
Harris: “No. No I would not.”
Smith: “Why not?”
Harris: Because I’m all about change, once I see change I like to grab hold of it and I like to keep it moving.”
Harris says he thinks ADOT gave drivers plenty of time to get used to the new pattern. ADOT does like the results from the diverging diamond,.but will they build more here? That’s not certain. There are none in ADOT’s plans for the next few years.
Craig Smith is a reporter for KGUN 9. With more than 30 years of reporting in cities like Tampa, Houston and Austin, Craig has covered more than 40 Space Shuttle launches and covered historic hurricanes like Katrina, Ivan, Andrew and Hugo. Share your story ideas and important issues with Craig by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by connecting on Facebook and Twitter.