BALDWIN COUNTY, Ala. (WKRG) – Whether you like the design or not, the Alabama Department of Transportation says it’s working.
“In the past before the Diverging Diamond we’re talking serious accidents, T-bone type accidents, where a car hits head on at a high speed. Now, we’re looking at fender benders,” said ALDOT spokesman James Gordon.
It’s an odd looking traffic pattern that’s preventing serious accidents, according to state transportation officials. Between March 2018 and March 2019 ALDOT reports there were 100 car crashes at this interchange with 29 of those involving an injury. That’s prior to the Diverging Diamond Interchange.
Between July 2021 and July 2022 ALDOT says there were just 41 crashes with 4 of those accidents causing injury. They say the Diverging Diamond Interchange is the main factor.
“The injuries that happen are minor compared to what we saw two years ago before the DDI was completed,” said Gordon.
Lanes first shifted on Highway 181 at Interstate 10 on the Eastern Shore in July 2020. ALDOT officials say funding prevented them from adding a third lane north of the interstate at the time, but now with even more drivers using the Diverging Diamond it’s something they’re looking into to keep traffic moving.
“They’ve determined where they can make improvements. Those plans have been drawn out. The traffic count for that area will more than likely justify an extra lane,” he explained.
In 2018, 19,541 vehicles crossed I-10 north on Highway 181 compared to 23,754 in 2021. ALDOT will now look at those numbers to determine what improvements are best to keep traffic flowing. An exact plan hasn’t been announced yet.