Drivers test out Aussie-first road design
Drivers on the Queensland Sunshine Coast have been the first to test out a brand new road design aimed at cutting down on congestion.
The new design aims to transform some of the areas busiest roads, including Caloundra Rd and Steve Irwin Way, by introducing an Australian-first Diverging Diamond Interchange (DDI).
The interchange promises to reduce congestion and improve safety by reducing the number of conflicting points seen in a regular interchange.
Motorists got their first taste of the upgrade today, with the Department of Transport and Main Roads opening part of it to traffic.
But not everyone was impressed with the DDI, with a few motorists claiming to have experienced even more congestion issues than they normally would.
"My favourite design feature is the 5 mins it's adds to the east bound trip and how at 10:00 the westbound traffic is backed up to near the racecourse. Can't wait for rush hour," one social media user said.
"Looks great but was already backed up on Caloundra Rd at 6am #missedtrain," another person wrote.
One added: "I have just drove (sic) over Caloundra Road design and it's the worst. 3 sets of lights to get over one bridge traffic lined up for kms. Don't let that stupid design go through."
HOW DOES IT WORK?
There are a few key differences between a DDI and a traditional interchange.
Traditional interchanges have right-turning lanes in the middle of the road and drivers must wait for oncoming traffic to pass before turning right.
A DDI moves right-turning motorists to the edge of the interchange allowing them to turn right without giving way to, or blocking traffic, coming the other way.
This is the first design of it's kind to be built in Australia and has proven to be successful in cutting traffic congestion in other parts of the world.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said the Australian Government had committed $650.4 million to fund 80 per cent of the massive Caloundra Road to Sunshine Motorway project.
"This is a really exciting project, delivering Australia's first Diverging Diamond Interchange (DDI) and it's great to see the project advancing with two new bridges spanning the highway at Caloundra Road opening this week," Mr McCormack said.
Queensland Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said the upgrade would continue open in stages over the coming months.
"This is an Australian-first innovative project that will reduce vehicle conflict points and the potential for crashes at the interchange," Mr Bailey said.
"Its design means the project has a smaller footprint in terms of the size of the interchange and we're now looking to build DDIs into major interchange upgrades in Brisbane and the Gold Coast.
"The DDI at Caloundra Road will open in stages over the next 12 months and traffic lights will be located at either side of the interchange to control traffic flow."