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WEST VALLEY CITY — The Utah Department of Transportation is about to open a unique new style of an interchange in West Valley City.
Roughly 100,000 cars travel through the intersection of Bangerter Highway and state Route 201 every day. By converting it to a diverging diamond interchange, UDOT says the usual afternoon traffic backup will hopefully be a thing of the past.
The diverging diamond is a relatively new concept in Utah; three of these interchanges are in use along I-15 in northern Utah County. While it may appear confusing at first, UDOT says drivers will quickly get the hang of it.
"Once they drive through the intersection, they'll be like, ‘Wow, that's something different.' But it's intuitive; very, very easy to use," said UDOT spokesman Tim Rose.
Animation provided by UDOT shows the traffic seems to zigzag through on what feels like the wrong side of the road. But UDOT officials are confident it will move traffic through the area much better, especially during rush hour.
- Location: Bangerter Highway at the 21st South Freeway. Both northbound and southbound lanes closed.
- Date/Time: Friday, Oct. 21 at 11 p.m. to Monday, Oct. 24 at 5 a.m.
"The best part about this is that left turns will not be conflicting with left turn-through movements. So eliminating them from the signal creates a lot more efficient and safer interchange," Rose said.
In fact, UDOT believes the diverging diamond will cut left-turn accidents by 60 percent, and cut delays during peak traffic by 40 percent. But the best part is that by converting this interchange to a diverging diamond, UDOT will save close to $40 million.
"We studied this extensively. Really, the only other alternative that was feasible was building a whole new interchange, which for us would cost about $50 million," Rose said. "This option here costs us $10 million and buys a lot of benefit for the next 15-20 years."
To finish this project off, there will be a major closure at the intersection this weekend. Bangerter Highway will be closed in both directions beginning Friday at 11 p.m. and lasting until Monday at 5 a.m.