Ontario has just gotten its very first fancy intersection type, called a diverging diamond interchange, and though residents may not have driven on it firsthand yet, they are already expecting the worst for the confusing crossing.
With the aim of cutting down on gridlock in the area, the wonky-looking intersection was installed at the QEW and Glendale Avenue in Niagara, and opened to the public on Monday morning.
Based on available images, people seem certain that it’s going to lead to a slew of accidents while others are already making jokes about it. And, considering the fact that The Ministry of Transportation had to release a video of how to navigate the roadway, they may end up being right.
“A diverging diamond interchange has a number of benefits, including increasing safety through a reduction in the number of conflict points, reducing the possibility of collisions, maintaining efficient traffic flows, and has a compact footprint, using space more efficiently,” the video explains.
Unfortunately, though the design’s purported safety and effectiveness is being emphasized, people are not buying it.
“I can’t tell you how far out of the way I will be going to avoid this intersection,” one person said.
“Where’s my commemorative ‘I survived the diamond interchange’ t-shirt?” another quipped.
The design, which is popular in the U.S., cuts out left turns facing oncoming traffic both getting on and off the highway, which is supposed to lead to a significant reduction in delays with fewer stop lights.
Cars are able to free flow onto and off the highway in both directions thanks to the fact that traffic briefly swaps sides over to the left, making left turns easier with cars already on that side of the road.
Though it’s not intuitive for drivers here, videos (and stats) show how it does make some sense.
Many are still worried that due to the intersection’s high traffic levels, drivers’ unfamiliarity with the infrastructure and its proximity to the largest tourist attraction in the province (Niagara Falls), there are bound to be some problems.
Thus far, early reports state that the interchange seems to be running “pretty well,” but it may only be a matter of time before someone ends up driving the wrong way on one of the many weaving lanes.