ALDOT shows off "Diverging Diamond" design for Hwy 181, I-10 interchange in Baldwin Co
BALDWIN CO, Ala. (WPMI) —
The Alabama Department of Transportation is revealing new plans for one of the most heavily traveled intersections in Baldwin County.
Officials say around 46,000 vehicles pass through the Highway 181, Interstate 10 interchange every day.
According to locals, the traffic has become one of the biggest issues in the county.
"It's really bad because you have people coming over the overpass going real fast. If you're trying to merge three lanes of traffic, it's a traffic hazard. So it's not just a summer problem, it's pretty much a year round problem," said William Quinley, who lives in Baldwin County.
ALDOT held a public meeting on Tuesday to discuss their new "Diverging Diamond" design intended to relieve congestion at Highway 181 and Interstate 10 in Malbis.
In simplest terms, the "Diverging Diamond" interchange will have northbound and southbound lanes switching sides of the highway to allow traffic to move onto the interstate, before switching back.
"You're actually eliminating all dangerous left turn movements that you make across traffic at a normal interchange. All of those left turns are eliminated so you gain up to a 60% reduction in vehicle crashes," said Brian Aaron, Assistant Region Engineer for the Southwest Region of ALDOT.
Officials say the diverging diamond is done with traffic lights to keep things moving along smoothly.
Numerous Eastern Shore and Baldwin County residents turned out and spoke transportation officials to learn how it will all work.
LOCAL 15 spoke with folks in attendance and many had positive reactions.
"I think the state has come up with a real good plan and I'd like to see what they do," Quinley said.
Damon Eden, a Malbis resident, said he's glad the new design would eliminate dangerous U-turns but he thinks it might cause confusion.
"For people that are just so used to driving on the right and left side of the road. Elderly people and people from out of town," said Eden.
Chris Elliott, Baldwin County Commissioner, says the design is more feasible considering the space and money which with the state has to work.
"I expect it to really increase the capability of that intersection to hold the traffic volume we have which often will back up through three or 4 light cycles. Which is simply unacceptable," Elliott said.
ALDOT officials said they are still accepting comments and suggestions for the proposal, which if approved is expected to begin construction by Spring of 2018.