State's first Diverging Diamond Interchange will soon open to traffic
D'IBERVILLE, MS (WLOX) - In a matter of days, the Galleria Parkway overpass in D'Iberville will open to traffic, but it may not look the way you expect.
Since July of 2013, Mississippi Department of Transportation officials have been working on a plan to improve the traveling experience through the City of D'Iberville. Tuesday is when the city will reach a major milestone.
"We're going to open up one of our major interchanges that's part of these projects, and that is the new diverging interchange at the location of D'Iberville Boulevard and I-10," MDOT Project Engineer Michael Harter said.
According to Harter, the diverging diamond is a proven design and innovative idea being used for the first time in the state. He says the benefits are simple and all boil down to safety.
"Safety has always been and will always be a priority number one, and one thing this interchange does is it reduces conflict points. It reduces the chances of T-bone crashes by giving traffic free flowing movements on and off the interstate," Harter said.
Here's an example of how it works.
"If you were traveling, let's say, I-10 eastbound and you wanted to go north to the Promenade, you would exit where it splits. You can either take the left hand side of the split and go south to Biloxi, or if you wanted to go to the Promenade, you would take the right hand split and you'd come up to the DDI. At the top of the DDI, instead of waiting at a signal like a conventional interchange, you'll just make a free flowing left turn and continue north," Harter explained.
Harter says he expects drivers to be a little apprehensive to the new interchange, but once they realize it's a safer and faster way to get around, they'll appreciate it.
"It is kind of like a roundabout. You know, people aren't very sure about it the first time they go through it, but once they get into it, they find out that they really, really like it," Harter said.
The roadway project was completed in two phases, costing $50 million. Funding for the project came from the Mississippi Development Authority and the Federal Highway Administration.
Copyright 2015 WLOX. All rights reserved.