February 23, 2014
Traffic patterns have changed significantly off of exit 136 on I-64. The change almost makes you feel like you're in a different country.
“This is like driving in Europe,” says Hope Merrill. “I'm on the wrong side of the road.”
The new set up at Zion Crossroads in Louisa County is called the Diverging Diamond Interchange (DDI). It briefly shifts drivers to the opposite side of the road and eliminates traditional left turns onto I-64.
The interchange opened on Friday night and since then drivers have had their share of opinions.
“It's very confusing and I would be afraid someone would have an accident because it doesn't make sense, it's not logical the way it's set up,” says Merrill.
“The first time I rode it was today,” says Michael Dioguardi. “I was like, what the hell is going on.”
“The way they got it set up right now, when you drive it, you have to go really slow and pay attention because a lot of things are happening,” says John Pulliam. “I would have thought a good Clover-Leaf would work fine, but they're trying something different I guess.”
The layout is modeled after a French design from the 1970's, but after speaking to several people who have driven through the diverging diamond, it's safe to say the common theme has been confusion.
However, confusion soon goes away after riding along the new interchange.
The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) chose this design to improve safety and say that it can handle more than 600 left-turn movements per hour, which is twice the amount of a traditional interchange.
This is one of six in the nation, with three others in Missouri, one in Utah and another in Tennessee.