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NDOT updates Tropicana/I-15 interchange after layout confuses motorists

Some drivers are finding it difficult to navigate the recently opened diverging diamond interchange on Tropicana Avenue over Interstate 15.

A few weeks after its opening, following the demolition of the northern portion of the bridge tied to the $305 million I-15/Tropicana interchange project, the Nevada Department of Transportation noticed drivers making mistakes.

The two most common mistakes NDOT is seeing are motorists traveling in both the eastbound and westbound lanes not crossing over into their lane, leading to driving in the wrong direction after the diverging intersection. And motorists coming from I-15 northbound to Tropicana westbound who do not keep left and turn into the left lane, NDOT spokesman Justin Hopkins said.

“We are addressing these issues with new signage, striping, and signal configuration,” Hopkins said. “We have noticed a significant decrease in the number of wrong-way drivers each time we tweak the engineering at the interchange. We will continue to monitor driver behavior and make adjustments if necessary.”

The update led to the overnight closure of the interchange Friday in order for crews to carry out the needed work in hopes of eliminating driver error seen at the interchange.

How to navigate

With most drivers used to conventional interchanges that have lanes running straight in each direction, knowing how to navigate the criss-crossing pattern of a diverging diamond interchange ahead of time will help motorists deal with the unconventional road layout.

As drivers approach the interchange, they should heed signage and pavement markers to move to the left side of the road.

Drivers then continue through the interchange on the left side of the roadway, crossing over to the opposite side of the road at a designated crossover point.

“Once drivers have crossed over to the other side of the road, westbound drivers can make left turns onto the ramps for southbound I-15 or continue straight through the interchange on the right side of the road,” Hopkins said. “ As drivers exit the interchange, they are guided back to the right side of the road by signs and pavement markings.”

Why the DDI?

The diverging diamond interchange was added to the reduced capacity Tropicana interchange because of its effectiveness at handling high volumes of traffic and safety improvements, Hopkins said.

“By keeping the free left movement from Tropicana westbound to I-15 southbound we take away the need for an additional traffic signal,” Hopkins said.

Motorists will have to brace for a shift in the diverging diamond interchange in the fall when the rebuilt northern half reopens and the south side is torn down.

“The DDI at Tropicana will be in place at least until mid-2024,” Hopkins said. “We encourage drivers to study how the movement works and pay special attention when they drive through that interchange.”

Contact Mick Akers at makers@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2920. Follow @mickakers on Twitter. Send questions and comments to roadwarrior@reviewjournal.com.

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