Diverging diamond interchanges are a rarity in the United States, but now we have one located less than half a mile from one of the country’s most famous streets. In the abstract, a diverging diamond interchange offers unobstructed access to and from a highway while everyone else only has to pass through two traffic signals. However, diverging diamonds can be intimidating and confusing if you’ve never driven one before, because you briefly end up traveling on the “wrong” side of the road. So the Nevada Department of Transportation just released this mesmerizing video for drivers, and I can’t stop watching it.
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The Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT) is completely transforming the I-15/Tropicana Avenue interchange near Las Vegas Boulevard. Part of the plan involves expanding the westbound lanes on the Tropicana Avenue bridge over the highway. As NDOT demolishes and rebuilds the westbound lanes, all traffic has been shifted to a temporary diverging diamond interchange (DDI) on the eastbound lanes. The temporary interchange will be in place until next year.
NDOT recently released a video explaining the changes and how to navigate the new diverging diamond. The video is narrated by Justin Hopkins, an NDOT public information officer, who calmly presents all the necessary details in just over three minutes. The light electronic background music, dashcam footage and digital graphics put viewers at ease. The Jersey barriers, cones and nearby construction equipment might cause people to panic, but the step-by-step instructions will ensure drivers are prepared.
The first diverging diamond interchange in the United States opened in 2009 in Springfield, Missouri. According to NDOT’s video, there are three permanent DDIs in southern Nevada. The Tropicana Avenue diverging diamond will likely be one of the most frequently used in the country during its planned one-year service life. The completed version of the interchange with I-15 won’t feature a diverging diamond, unfortunately; it’ll use a flyover from I-15’s southbound exit directly to the intersection with the Las Vegas Strip.
But until then, we can enjoy the soothing sights and sounds of NDOT’s diverging diamond how-to.