After about three months of construction, Northeast Wisconsin’s first ever diverging diamond interchange opened Saturday morning in Appleton.

The diverging diamond interchange is unorthodox because there’s a stoplight at each end, after which drivers briefly drive on the left side of the road. They are then able to make a free flow left turn, meaning they don’t have to cross oncoming traffic. They can also cross back over to the right side of the road and continue going straight.

Because the design may be confusing at first, Michelle Bachaus of the Wisconsin Bike Federation spent the morning at the Appleton Public Library answering drivers’ questions about the new structure.

“I do road use education all the time, and I kinda anticipated this might be a curiosity point,” Bachaus said. “People have asked me, ‘Why did they do this?, I’m nervous to use this, what do I need to know’?”

The innovative design is the first of its kind in the area, though most drivers seemed to be adjusting to it quickly.

“It was kinda cool,” said Pat Murray of Appleton, after he drove the DDI for the first time. “It was smooth. It was weird coming through the changes, because you’re kinda turning off on the left, and you’re not used to that, so kinda neat to see how the traffic flowed, and it worked out great.”

“I thought that the lanes were very well-marked,” said Denise McQuillen, also of Appleton. “I felt that it was really easy coming through, it was nice and wide. The traffic signals are helpful where you cross over traffic, so I didn’t think it was a problem at all.”

The Wisconsin DOT says the new interchange should make driving at the intersection safer and more efficient, for the thousands of drivers that cross it daily.

For more information on diverging diamond interchanges, click here.