October 25, 2014

Jury still out on safety of diverging diamond

Danedri Thompson
dthompson@gardnernews.com
Popular Science named it one of the best design innovations in 2009, but the jury is still out on the safety and ease the diverging diamond interchange design.
Brian Andrew, Edgerton, said he regularly sees trucks off the road near the diverging diamond at Homestead Lane and Interstate 35 interchange.
“Is it a design flaw or speed?” Andrew would like to know.
The interchange was built in anticipation of additional traffic related to the BNSF intermodal and Logistics Park-KC. All three opened last fall.
Andrew lives near the interchange and said it isn’t uncommon to see overturned tractor-trailers nearby.
However, Kimberly Qualls, a spokesperson for the Kansas Department of Transportation, said only six accidents occurred at the interchange in 2013. Of those, three involved overturned vehicles.
“Only one was within the diverging section of the interchange on Homestead Lane caused in part by driving too fast for conditions on wet pavement,” Qualls responded in writing to a request for information about the new interchange. The other two overturned vehicles were on I-35 and due to icy road conditions.
Only one injury and one instance of property damage were reported in any of the accidents. As of April 1, no accidents at the interchange in 2014 had been reported to KDOT.
However, Andrew has photographs dated April 1 of an overturned truck and trailer near the northbound ramp of the interchange.

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