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Diverging diamond interchange: How do you drive through it?

The Diverging Diamond Interchange traffic pattern is said to reduce delays and conflict points.

WELD COUNTY, Colo. — The intersection of Colorado Highway 60 and Interstate 25 in Weld County is now open with a new traffic pattern.

The interchange — part of the I-25 North Express Lanes project from Mead to Fort Collins in northern Colorado — now follows a single-lane Diverging Diamond Interchange (DDI) traffic pattern.

When driving a DDI, motorists proceed through a traffic signal upon entering the interchange and follow their lane to the opposite side of the roadway, according to the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT).

Drivers needing to access I-25 from CO 60 can turn left at the on-ramp without having to stop again or wait for oncoming traffic to pass.

Through traffic proceeds to a second traffic signal and follows the lane back to the customary side of the road.

Credit: Colorado Department of Transportation

"Diverging Diamond Interchanges are newer to interchange design and construction, but they provide significant safety and traffic flow benefits to areas with heavy directional traffic volumes, like the CO 60 and I-25 interchange," I-25 North Express Lanes Project Director Abra Geissler said.

CDOT said left-turn movements, which are a typical challenge with standard interchanges, are eliminated with a DDI, which minimizes T-bone type accidents.

CDOT added that when the interchange is fully complete, there will be two lanes in each direction. CDOT said there will also be a 10-foot-wide sidewalk and upgraded landscaping when completed in mid-2023.

How to drive a diverging diamond interchange:

Benefits of a diverging diamond:

  • Reduces delays using a two-phase signal as opposed to a traditional four or six-phase signal.
  • Requires fewer lanes but can handle more traffic capacity. 
  • Reduces conflict points at intersections. 
  • Improves pedestrian crossing safety with easier access to medians. 
  • Increases left-turn capacity. 
  • Eliminates wrong-way entry to ramps. 
  • Costs less than a typical free-flow interchange utilizing single directional flyover ramps.

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