We expect roads to be fairly straightforward. You go straight; maybe you turn left or right once in a while. That's not always the case as Jalopnik readers have searched the globe for ten intersections that defy common sense.
Welcome back to Answers of the Day — our daily Jalopnik feature where we take the best ten responses from the previous day's Question of the Day and shine it up to show off. It's by you and for you, the Jalopnik readers. Enjoy!
Photo Credit: Philip Lange/Shutterstock
10.) Rome's Porta Maggiore
Suggested By: zacarious
Why it's insane: Italian traffic has a bad reputation, probably because the autostrada has worse PR than the Autobahn, but regardless of reputation, reader zacarious certainly tells his own story of Italian dysfunction:
I lived in Rome for six months and was always amazed with the Porta Maggiore. At first it doesn't look like much. Just another crazy intersection in a city with many crazy intersections and then you realize that you're driving through and around a Roman gate and aqueduct that are both roughly 2000 years old, while dodging trams (look closely and you'll see the two tram lines), errant roman drivers, and a sea of Vespas.
Funny thing is, 2,000 years ago it was probably just as crazy.
Photo Credit: Google Earth
9.) I-95, I-287, NJ 440, and CR 514 intersection at Edison, NJ
Suggested By: 87CE 95PV Type Я
Why it's insane: If you want a validation of New York/Jersey driver stereotypes, just take a quick vacation to this highway interchange and you shouldn't have to wait too long to see NJ's and NY's finest in action.
There might be worse intersections for getting backed up in traffic, but this one just so readily enables the driving lunacy of the Metro-NYC area.
Photo Credit: terraserver-usa.com
8.) Atlanta's Spaghetti Junction
Suggested By: My X-type is too a real Jaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaag
Why it's insane: Aside from looking like a straight classic pile of highway spaghetti, the Tom Moreland Interchange is just one more poorly signed, impossible to comprehend driver's nightmare.
It suffers no fools, and will happily spit you back out onto residential streets if you're not careful.
Photo Credit: Wikipedia
7.) Birmingham's Spaghetti Junction
Suggested By: RFT
Why it's insane: I do feel a bit of pride here, as an American, that our Spaghetti junction should be even more monstrously complicated than its British counterpart and predecessor, but I think this is a competition we can afford to lose.
Reader RFT describes the chaos:
The Mighty "Spaghetti Junction". Or, to use its official name, "Gravelly Hill Interchange".
Combing a multi-level stack with a directional-T and an added roundabout for extra Britishness.
Photo Credit: Google Maps
6.) Shanghai's Nanpu Bridge interchange
Suggested By: $kaycog
Why it's insane: Yes, that's a double twist multi-lane highway convergence that exits onto a suspension bridge. To put up the massive Shanghai traffic flow up against this thing is an exercise in madness.
If you're wondering what the world's biggest automotive roller coaster ride feels like, take a gander at this video.
Photo Credit: Jakob Montrasio
5.) Place de l'Étoile in Paris
Suggested By: clairborne
Why it's insane: You might know it as the Arc d'Triomph and yes, that's traffic heading ten-abreast into the very centerpoint of the Francophone world.
How these people ran an empire is beyond me, but if they can manage this intersection of twelve major Parisian roads on a regular basis, I guess anything's possible.
Photo Credit: Wikipedia
4.) "The Plough" in Hemel Hempstead
Suggested By: rj-pilot
Why it's insane: Six roundabouts for six intersecting roads are going to make an interesting collective super-roundabout, but the fact that not all the roundabouts spin in the same direction just ups the crazy.
3.) The diverging diamond crossover
Suggested By: Josh Dunn
Why it's insane: What's crazy about the diverging diamond interchange is that it's so new and that it actually looks like it works. Built for the first time just two years ago, the diverging diamond eliminates the need for left turns in front of an opposing lane of traffic.
That means you can have traffic flowing much more smoothly much more of the time. This is particularly strange as you have to cross over to drive on the opposite side of the road to make this all work. Read the full article on Wikipedia to get a sense of this infrastructural innovation.
2.) L.A.'s Harry Pregerson Interchange
Suggested By: Shamooononon
Why it's insane: We all know that driving in L.A. is an exercise in madness, and here's just one of the many, many reasons why I choose to avoid that city like the plague.
I'm sure this looked absolutely beautiful when it debuted in 1993 (okay, I don't actually believe that) but today it is just a perfect symbol of the lunatic grandeur of Los Angeles.
Photo Credit: Google Maps
1.) Shibuya, Tokyo
Suggested By: LanciaZeroFTW
Why it's insane: The masses of vehicles and people, all crammed together into one brilliantly mad mess. It is what defines a crazy intersection, and it defines the Shibuya crossing.
It is certainly one of the densest driving locations in the world, perhaps the densest, and it's all punctuated by the beautiful choreography of all-way pedestrian traffic.