The design of a highway interchange in southwest Missouri has won the State Transportation Department acclaim from Popular Science magazine. Each year, the science and technology magazine picks what it considers to be “the 100 fastest, biggest, safest, greenest and most powerful innovations of the year.” Popular Science calls the concept behind the new intersection design in Springfield one of the best innovations of the year.
“We’ve rebuilt an interchange, at Kansas Expressway and I-44, in a design that has been used in France – It’s called a diverging diamond,” said MoDOT’s Bob Edwards in an interview with the Missourinet. “Basically, the traffic crosses over to the left hand side of the road on each end of the bridge over I-44 and people are able to make a left turn onto the Interstate without waiting for oncoming traffic and causing backups.”
It might sound a little confusing, but Edwards insists safety is ensured.
“We have many signs overhead, we have markings on the pavement, and we have concrete islands that basically guide you in the right direction,” said Edwards. “It’s very easy to follow.”
Using this design instead of standard designs provided quite a cost savings.
“We were able to do this for about a little under $3-million – had we had to start all over at this interchange and build a more standard reconstruction it probably would have cost closer to $9- or $10-million,” said Edwards. “We were able to get it done in about six months instead of a year and a half and, of course, it has worked as far as moving traffic.”
Plans call for a second diverging diamond to be built in Springfield, with MoDOT also working on one in the St. Louis area and another in the Kansas City area.