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New Auburn Hills “diverging diamond interchange” puts drivers on the wrong side of the road

June 5, 2015 by Steven M. Gursten

Drivers in Auburn Hills will be the first to test out the diamond interchange at I-75 and University Drive

Auburn Hills diamond interchange
Auburn Hills diamond interchange

The traffic engineering science behind roundabout intersections is that they’re an effective way to reduce car accidents and increase traffic flow. But, as I wrote in this recent blog post about Michigan’s most dangerous intersection in Ann Arbor (a roundabout), what the science says in theory and what’s happening in real life are sometimes two very different things.

This particular intersection leads the entire state of Michigan in the number of car accidents. I’m confident was not the result that was intended when the roundabout was constructed at this location.

Now, there’s a new traffic innovation that’s also designed to reduce motor vehicle accidents called the “diverging diamond interchange.” The concept of the diamond interchange is to route drivers temporarily onto the “wrong” side of the road – and it’s all in the name of safety.

The diverging diamond interchange is now coming to Auburn Hills, Michigan.

Used in Europe and other states, the diamond interchange is designed to reduce potentially dangerous “conflict points” by routing traffic temporarily to the left side of the road at a highway interchange.

Drivers in Auburn Hills will be the first to test out the diamond interchange at I-75 and University Drive. Construction started in March and is projected to wrap in December.

Take a look at the video from the North Carolina Department of Transportation, which explains the new traffic flow.

Brad Wieferiech, an engineer for the Michigan Department of Transportation, said he understands how routing drivers to the left side of the road might feel “a little strange” in a recent Mlive story, “Construction begins on Michigan’s first ‘diverging diamond’ interchange.” But he assured that the interchange is specifically set up to point drivers in the right direction and in actuality, feels quite natural.

There are currently 45 diamond change intersections in the U.S. The Auburn Hills interchange is the first such intersection that is planned for Michigan.

Do you think the new diamond interchange will reduce car accidents – or cause a spike in fender benders?  Let our attorneys know by making a comment below or on our Michigan Auto Law Facebook page.

You also may visit our Michigan’s Most Dangerous Intersections page for a complete list of intersection car crashes that can be searched by any Michigan city or county, and our list of Michigan’s 2016 Top 20 Most Dangerous Intersections.

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