I went out of my way a bit this weekend in order to try the recently opened diamond interchange at I-88 and Route 59. There wasn’t much traffic but I found it pretty easy to navigate and it looks like it will help move traffic onto I-88 more quickly. Here were some reactions from drivers earlier in the week:
“Am I doing this right?” one Daily Herald reporter wondered while test driving the new route. There was bemusement on the faces of some other drivers, but Illinois Department of Transportation spokesman Guy Tridgell reported no major problems Monday afternoon.
“We have observed folks maybe driving a little tentatively, a little slowly, perhaps because they’re curious, but everything is going according to plan,” Tridgell said.
While it may take drivers some time to adjust – though there are plenty of signs and traffic light indicators – the improved safety and traffic flow of such interchanges means more are coming:
A similar interchange will be completed at the Jane Addams Tollway (I-90) and Elmhurst Road near Des Plaines in 2016.
The Illinois Department of Transportation opened another diamond interchange at I-57 and Route 13 this summer in Marion, in southern Illinois.
Given that more cars can now move through this interchange, does that mean traffic will increase? Generally, if you add lanes to a highway, drivers see that as a feature and this can lead to more congestion. (Conversely, road diets that limit lanes can reduce traffic.) This is already a busy area along I-88 with numerous crowded interchanges both east and west. Perhaps safety through a reduction of accidents in busy intersections is the number one goal here…
This particular type of interchange is relatively new – see a 2010 post here.