The Diverging Diamond Interchange in Appleton is one month old, and now that the dust has settled, we are checking to see if it has made an impact.
“Oh my God, this looks like it’s going to be horrible to navigate,” said Keith Bedat-Smith, a Menasha man who commonly passes through the interchange. “Over and under and the wrong side of the road and everything else.”
And now, drivers like him are learning not to judge a book by its cover.
“But, it’s not confusing at all,” he said. “It’s laid out real well, you just look at the signs, it’s obvious where you need to be and you move right on through.”
And the praise for the hyped, loop-de-loop looking project kept coming.
“I do go that way to work and it actually did shorten her up by a couple of minutes because I’m not stopping at all, really,” said Bedat-Smith.
Though there will not be any statistics for a while yet, Appleton Police tell Local 5 that traffic accidents at the intersection appear to be on the decline.
“Versus the roundabouts, it eliminated the constant movement,” he said. “There’s nobody flying through anywhere really not looking because it is controlled by lights and arrows.”
And then there is always the old fashioned way to judge its safety.
“It’s been quiet,” said Randy Asman, a traffic engineer for the Wisconsin Department of Transportation. “And in our world, in my world–the traffic engineering world–when things are quiet, generally things are going good.”
There is still some fine-tuning to be done, such as adjusting the length of the traffic lights, but it’s left the managers feeling satisfied.
“Operationally and safety-wise, we’re happy with where we’re at,” he said. “We’re going to continue to monitor its operations to see if there’s things we need to do to make it work better.”
In fact, the interchange is so nice, WisDOT is considering keeping interchanges like this one in its back pocket.
“Without a doubt, we’re going to keep a close eye on it and if it applies at other locations where we have to rebuild interchanges, this could be an alternative at other places for sure,” said Asman.
At this point, there are no immediate plans for another diverging diamond interchange in Northeast Wisconsin.