Ever danced the Hokey Pokey at a wedding reception?
You know . . . Put your left foot in, put your left foot out. Shake it all about.
Good. Then you’ll be ready for what Colorado Springs traffic engineers have in store when they rebuild the Interstate 25 interchange at Fillmore Street.
The reconfigured interchange, as planned, will introduce a whole new dance step for drivers and it’s not unlike the Hokey Pokey silliness.
The plans call for construction of a “diverging diamond” interchange.
Not a familiar driving term?
Don’t feel bad.
Most of the world’s driver are immune to it.
But just as the once-obscure “round-about” has become more common in our driving vocabulary (as in “these freaking round-abouts drive me freaking crazy”), so, too, will “diverging diamond.”
Soon, actually, if the city lands a $10 million federal grant to pay for a makeover of the interchange, says Kathleen Krager, senior city traffic engineer.
Rebuilding the interchange is too expensive. so the old bridge will remain. But that’s about all that will stay the same.
What Krager described to me sounds like an extreme makeover. All that will be missing is the annoying guy with the spiked hair, soul patch and megaphone.
There will be, I fear, plenty of people shouting “Move that bus!” because the diverging diamond looks pretty confusing.
Here’s how it will work.
Motorists on Fillmore will criss-cross each other, just as they approach the bridge over I-25.
The manuever will look just like my kids’ electric slot car race track where the cars duck back and forth across the tracks. (Of course, this usually creates spectacular slot-car crashes.)
There will be traffic signals preventing spectacular crashes on Fillmore.
For example, westbound traffic on Fillmore will cross onto the far left lanes, or south side, of the bridge. In other words, traffic will be traveling on the wrong side of the bridge.
Same for the eastbound cars. They will shift onto the north lanes to cross the bridge.
Krager said the beauty (huh?) of the diverging diamond is that it creates no-wait exits onto the interstate.
Westbound drivers, for example, will leave a traffic signal, move to the wrong side of the bridge and have a smooth left turn onto southbound I-25 before the traffic crosses back onto the normal side of the road.
“It removes the left turns that cause conflict,” Krager said. “Everything becomes right turns.”
This link takes you to an animated flyover that explains the diverging diamond.
Click here to see another more rudimentary animated interchange.
The diverging diamond is debated on this Minnesota website and includes actual video of a diverging diamond in action.
Like I said, it’s just like doing the Hokey Pokey where turn yourself around.
That’s what it’s all about.