MANTECA, Calif. (KTXL) — Construction crews in Manteca are putting the finishing touches on California’s first diverging diamond interchange over Highway 120.
Although orange traffic tubes and road signs still block Union Road, the interchange will be open to drivers on Wednesday at midnight, just in time for the anticipated increase in holiday traffic.
“Construction was completed, and we wanted to open it as soon as we could for the community to use,” Dewberry public outreach manager Annette Manz told FOX40.
Manz said the interchange could potentially save lives and serious injury.
“There’s a significant reduction in the opportunity to collide with another vehicle, that’s one. And the other is that moving through the interchange at a reduced speed, even for collisions that do occur, they’re at lower speeds,” Manz explained.
The new interchange will work somewhat like a roundabout.
The diamond shape eliminates the need for left-hand turns at the intersection, which reduces conflict points by shifting traffic to the left side of the road and then back to the right side.
“It is just natural; it feels natural as you approach it. You follow your signs, you follow the lights, it’s just a smooth and natural process,” Manz said.
Experts said the new interchange doesn’t just make traveling along Union Road safer, it will also ease the commute for drivers by reducing traffic.
“Because there’s less stopping and going and less crisscrossing over the intersection, so you can actually have a higher through-put of traffic,” Manz explained.
Manz said the divergent diamond interchange will help accommodate the city’s continued growth.
“I think it just speaks to the city of Manteca’s desire to really provide the community with the tools that are needed as they continue to grow,” Manz said.
The project, which cost $23 million to build, also includes a separate pedestrian and bike path.
Manteca Mayor Ben Cantu said the city has a goal to build two more divergent diamond interchanges in the next 10 years.
For those who want more information, including a look at how to navigate the new interchange, click or tap here.