Rush-hour tests diverging diamond interchange - FOX 35 News Orlando

Rush-hour tests diverging diamond interchange

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Gwinnett County's newly opened Diverging Diamond interchange, at the Pleasant Hill Road bridge over I-85, proved a bit challenging for its first round of morning rush-hour commuters.

Drivers were likely thankful they'd had their morning coffee before navigating traffic signs on the ground, in the air, some  green and others red. And, they seem to point in every direction. For first-timers it might have seemed a bit overwhelming.

But, despite a little more honking and impatience from motorists than usual, early morning drivers made their way safely along the new path that shifts traffic to the opposite side of the bridge.

Georgia Department of Transportation officials say the change is intended to make left turns onto the interstate easier and improve the flow of traffic across the bridge. It also saves the GDOT from paying $60 million to replace the bridge. The redesigned interchange cost $6 million.

The GDOT opened the new diverging diamond interchange on Sunday.

Drivers who spoke with FOX 5 News said it was a little strange, but transportation officials claim it will help to ease the traffic congestion along the roadway.

Construction will continue on the center median and pedestrian facilities while crews finalize the signals, interchange lighting and pavement markings. The project is expected to be substantially complete in September, with landscaping to begin in the fall.

Once the project is complete, the bridge at Pleasant Hill Road and I-85 will be Gwinnett County's first DDI and the second in Georgia.

"We ask that drivers be especially cautious and alert as they drive through this new type of intersection and keep in mind that construction is still going on," Transportation Director Kim Conroy said.

"Gwinnett DOT will continue to monitor the corridor over the coming weeks and make signal timing adjustments to keep traffic flowing. Gwinnett Police will also be onsite through Thursday during peak hours to assist motorists with the change."

Pedestrian traffic should continue to use the detour route of Pleasant Hill Road to Satellite Boulevard to Steve Reynolds Boulevard to Shackleford Road to Pleasant Hill Road, and the reverse, for at least one month during the construction of pedestrian walkways.

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