Tips for using south Austin’s new diverging diamond intersection

Austin
Diverging_diamond_intersection_to_open_t_0_20181111033257

AUSTIN (KXAN) — It’s not what many of us are used to, but if you live, work or travel along the Slaughter and MoPac intersection you may come across the new diverging diamond

“It’s opposite of what American roads do,” said Julie Schier of Round Rock. She’s been using the diverging diamond off of I-35 and Farm to Market Road 1431 for the last three years. 

“So a lot of folks have trepidation at first driving these because we’re not in England,” added Bradley Wheelis, spokesperson for the Texas Department of Transportation. 

That’s because drivers who travel along the intersection will briefly be shifted to the left side of the road, allowing through-traffic and left-turning traffic to continue on.

The goal is to allow drivers to quickly travel through an intersection by getting rid of left-turn arrows.

This past weekend, the Slaughter and MoPac diverging diamond opened up. 

“We have about 47,000 vehicles going southbound on MoPac, when they get to Slaughter that number goes down to about 25,000,” said Wheelis. “So a lot of folks are exiting at Slaughter, and they really need this form of mobility and safety.”

TxDOT officials said not only will it improve traffic but safety as well by reducing the number of crash points on the roadway, some by even 50 percent.

What to expect when traveling on a Diverging Diamond Intersection:

  • Follow the signs and stay in the lines to navigate the DDI
  • For motorists traveling straight through on Slaughter Lane, traffic will be shifted to the left on the bridge and exit the DDI to the right
  • For motorists turning left onto MoPac, traffic will be shifted to the left on the bridge and will exit the DDI to the left
  • MoPac through-traffic should stay to the left and travel under the Slaughter Lane overpass, avoiding the intersection
  • Traffic exiting at Slaughter Lane will be forced to turn left or right at the intersection There will be NO through-frontage road access

“You’re not going to get those head-on and t-bone collisions,” he said. “You shouldn’t get them with the DDI.”

But not everyone is a fan.

“Eh,” sighed Joseph Means.

“I would say it definitely still has some confusion to it as a factor,” added Schier. 

Means and Schier are just two of the many drivers in Round Rock who for the last three years have traveled along the FM 1431 and I-35 diverging diamond, and now that their neighbors to the south got one — they had this advice.

“Don’t get frustrated, be patient,” Means said. “It’s definitely a learning curve.”

Click HERE to watch TxDOT’s video showcasing a DDI. 

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