Newly designed I-40 Exit 407 is now open in the Smokies and the Diverging Diamond Interchange is a gem! Visitors and locals alike have anticipated improvements at the interchange of I-40 and Highway 66 that serves as the gateway to the Great Smoky Mountains for millions of motorists each year. And it couldn’t happen at a better time as the area prepares for its busiest time of year.
The interchange has been redesigned in a smartly engineered “diverging diamond” pattern to ease traffic congestion for motorists getting on and off the Interstate. With the newly styled interchange, traffic switches sides at a signal before getting on the overpass bridges so that drivers turning left don’t have to stop or yield to oncoming traffic. Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) officials report that the diverging diamond design has proven very efficient at moving large volumes of traffic more quickly.
TDOT officials are asking motorists to please use extra caution as at times lanes will be closed and construction workers will be in the area making some final improvements throughout the summer months. Additionally, the widening of lanes on Highway 66 to three-lanes in both directions is still ongoing but should be finished by the end of 2015.
To visualize and better understand how the new Diverging Diamond Interchange has changed the flow of traffic, see this YouTube video produced by the North Carolina Department of Transportation.
It’s worth noting that because of the concise footprint of the diverging diamond design, no additional environmental or right-of-way studies were needed in order for the state to fast-track this important infrastructure project for the area. This allowed the project to be completed ahead of schedule and it reduced costs by millions of dollars for taxpayers. Some good news worth sharing! Safe travels to your and yours this summer!