Could diverging diamond interchange make Phoenix roads safer?

Wrong-way driving is a big problem in Arizona, but could a new interchange design concept make the roads safer?

The design is called the "diverging diamond". According to a video posted on ADOT's YouTube page, a diverging diamond interchange is slated to be built at the 17th Avenue and Desert Foothills Parkway interchange with the Loop 202 (South Mountain Freeway). According to that video, drivers would cross over to the other side of the road, via a designed intersection, before entering the freeway.

Now, that same design may also be implemented along the I-17 in the North Valley.

To some, the design may appear confusing or intimidating, but ADOT's Doug Nintzel said otherwise.

"If you were to exam from a drivers perspective, it's actually easy to use," said Nintzel. "It's a safer design in terms of cutting down on opportunities for drivers to have crashes."

For some North Valley residents, anything is better than the current I-17 set up at Happy Valley Road.

"The roundabout is just not working," said resident John Thomsen.

"They see it as being something that's outdated and can't handle the amount of traffic, and to certain extent, we agree with that," said Nintzel.

So far, there are nearly 100 diverging diamond interchange in place around the country. On Monday, dozens packed a room in the North Valley to learn more about the interchange. It's designed to allow more free flow travel, particularly with the busy traffic on Happy Valley Road.

"It just seems to be an interesting place to be the guinea pig for Arizona," said Jeff Cox.

Diverging Diamond Interchange

ADOT animation on proposed diverging diamond interchange on South Mountain Freeway