While riding with a friend in Ankeny, Iowa last weekend, we drove under I-35. My friend was confused and I saw the future of the busiest street in Sioux Falls.

This goofy looking intersection is bound to make the excellent drivers of Sioux Falls seethe with the change. It's called a diverging diamond. It was announced back in March that the 41st Street overpass on I-29 would be getting one of these modern traffic marvels. Of course the diverging diamond will go over the interstate and not under it like the one pictured.

A video on the South Dakota Department of Transportation's website 41stStudy.com details that it cuts the number of accidents down by 50 percent and is anywhere from ten to 40 percent more efficient when it comes to rush hour traffic.

Another huge benefit of this type of interchange is that if you are trying to turn left from 41st Street to I-29, in either direction, you will only have to pass through one stop light to make that turn. Now you have to wait for two lights and have to wait for a lot of oncoming traffic.

With a diverging diamond you will never have to wait for oncoming traffic at a green light. The two intersections on either side will also have two directions of travel instead of four.

This was my first time going through a diverging diamond. Riding through the intersection as a passenger was a trip. The first time through it felt very strange to be on the left side of the road but all three lanes are going the same way. If you are in the left lane you are heading onto the Interstate. If you are in the other two lanes you are continuing on through the interchange.

It's weird but simple. Easier to get the hang of than a traffic circle or roundabout because the lights do all the thinking for you. Check out the video to see what it's like.

Jefferson High School


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