The California Department of Transportation’s new interchange design is having a profound impact on local economic, social and recreational opportunities.
The groundbreaking Diverging Diamond Interchange (DDI) on State Route 120 in California’s Central Valley is a sparkling gem of an interchange and the first of its kind in the state — a futuristic-looking junction that replaces the clover-leaf design. It increases safety for drivers, pedestrians and those on non-motorized transportation.
The DDI eliminates the need to turn left across traffic, reducing the risk of broadsides. It has a 12-foot wide, grade-separated walking/cycling trail and a protected pedestrian bridge across the highway. This feature was a priority for residents, who wanted to cross over the highway without dodging vehicles. With potential conflicts between drivers reduced, safety improves. The economic impact of this DDI was felt before the project was finished in 2020. While Caltrans was constructing its interchange on the public right-of-way, a large parcel of private land adjacent to the interchange was also being worked. It will soon be one of the region’s major shopping centers with a 116,000 square-foot furniture showroom as its anchor. The ease by which motorists can come and go from the shopping center, by virtue of the DDI, was a factor in the developer’s decision.
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