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Old 01-19-2018, 03:22 PM   #1
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Driving on the left in the USA.

In the USA we drive on the right!! Well, maybe not:

I-5 in Southern Oregon, Exit 24, between Medford and Ashland.



Now, thanks to Gas Buddy, I pulled off here for cheap fuel. I felt surprised and very uncomfortable driving on the left side of this overpass. I snapped this street level photo at the traffic cross over point when re-crossing to return to I-5 southbound.





OK, some traffic engineers had an epiphany and the driving public gets a one off. Or so I thought until I got to Santa Fe. Here’s a photo of a drive-on-the-left underpass.

I-25 exits 278 and 278B south of Santa Fe, NM:





So how many left-hand-drive over/under passes are there?
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Old 01-19-2018, 03:33 PM   #2
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Lots. They’re a growing trend in highway design, along with the surge in roundabouts. Like your experience, they’re a little disorienting the first few times through one.
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Old 01-19-2018, 03:40 PM   #3
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Becoming very common in the Atlanta area and has previously mentioned, roundabout is common as well. I don’t mind the right-hand side drive but the roundabouts are a booger while towing.
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Old 01-19-2018, 05:19 PM   #4
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There is one near my house. It quickly becomes no big deal, though if I am following someone with out of state plates, I watch for them to get confused
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Old 01-19-2018, 05:28 PM   #5
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We have them in Missouri also. They are called Divergent Diamond interchanges.
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Old 01-19-2018, 06:20 PM   #6
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We have a couple of those crazy overpasses here. At first there were a number of accidents. People seem to be getting used to them and settling down.
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Old 01-19-2018, 06:34 PM   #7
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There are plenty of "Left Exit Ahead" circumstances which become 2-lane roads with both lanes moving in the same direction [until you reach a stop light, have to merge with another road, etc.].

The traffic coming toward you in the opposite direction [on your right] is usually separated by a median or raised concrete barrier, etc..

If the signage is done correctly, and gives sufficient warning, everything works out, although the first time through that area can be confusing. The signage is often the weak link in the chain IMO.

By the way -- if you have never driven in England, Ireland, the British Virgin Islands, etc., you have missed a good learning experience to re-orient your brain, feet, and shifting hand. The first time I did this, the first roundabout was a total brain overload, as it is for many first-timers. Can't imagine towing a trailer in that new situation!

Cheerio Matey . . .

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Old 01-20-2018, 10:06 AM   #8
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Diamond Crossovers/Interchanges!

As mentioned above, they do take a bit to get used to. The idea behind them is to keep traffic moving to reduce congestion and the “T-Bone” type of accident just like the roundabouts do! There is a YouTube video by, I believe, Wendover Productions on Traffic that explains everything well. Motor On!!!
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Old 01-20-2018, 10:13 AM   #9
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Diverging Diamond

That is called a Diverging Diamond Interchange. The are all the rage in congested intersections where there is not enough land to locate a full diamond interchange. The concept is that there is no cross traffic (like left turn lanes that have to wait for a light change) so traffic flows through in all directions when the lights are green. They are much more efficient that standard interchanges. I would think if you are towing they would be easier to navigate since you would just flow through your turns without having to pull across oncoming traffic on high volume intersections.

By the way, I think this came out of some college kid's design project.
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Old 01-20-2018, 10:34 AM   #10
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I've never encountered one...yet. Seems like a good idea but I think it might be majorly confusing the first time encountered. But here is a good video explaining it.

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Old 01-20-2018, 11:10 AM   #11
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It looks like they save a lot of concrete and acres of easements.
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Old 01-20-2018, 11:20 AM   #12
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They are difficult to understand with the promotion videos, but quite easy to use when you transition one, because we are all used to following lanes. The primary challenge of all non-standard traffic management systems is poor signage and in snow conditions, lane recognition. The standard 4-way intersection is easy to understand, because of familiarity. Had a round about in Tulsa that was not difficult, because it was so big, you had time to figure out what was needed, make your lane change and move on. Many new round abouts are small, confusing and at least in CA, suffer from poor ROW recognition. The CA stop sign roll gets amplified to a no slow transition. You can never be certain there will be a yield if you enter.

Wonder how self driving cars get programed for them? Pat
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Old 01-20-2018, 12:01 PM   #13
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driving on left

We also have one of those in RENO, NV. works OK as long as traffic does not back up beyond the diversion point.
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Old 01-20-2018, 01:19 PM   #14
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I have taken the Medford 24 exit a few times myself. First time wife is yelling at me you are on the wrong side of the road. I panicking back at her saying, I was just following the lane.
A few moments later we both laughed about it.

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Old 01-20-2018, 02:39 PM   #15
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Driving on the left

I-40, in Oklahoma, has quite a few left lane departures.
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Old 01-20-2018, 02:54 PM   #16
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Quote:
I have taken the Medford 24 exit a few times myself. First time wife is yelling at me you are on the wrong side of the road.
Good thing I was traveling solo. My wife and I would probably have had the same conversation.

What made my experience particularly confusing was my memory of this overpass as a normal right hand drive affair from previous trips. The original overpass was removed and replaced with the Divergent Diamond when that Home Depot (large building in upper left corner of photo) went in.

Several posters have mentioned roundabouts. These can be found all over Oregon, including rural areas. So be prepared if you visit the Beaver State.

My nomination for the mother of all roundabouts is the one in Fernley, Nevada at the confluence of Business I-80, Alternate US 50, and County Road 828. It has “on ramps” for right turning traffic, so it resembles a freeway interchange except with a roundabout in the center. Lots of big rig traffic, so the roundabout is larger than most.



This roundabout looks like a four armed brittle star. I’m ready for the vampire squid of interchanges now!
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Old 01-20-2018, 04:52 PM   #17
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Interesting idea...
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Old 01-20-2018, 07:29 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Burnside Bob View Post
What made my experience particularly confusing was my memory of this overpass as a normal right hand drive affair from previous trips. The original overpass was removed and replaced with the Divergent Diamond when that Home Depot
That is what was so frightening to me is I used to go several times a year to Ashland for the Shakespear Festival and it changed! and I had a trailer! and a very vocal wife!

I am going to have to check out the Fernley brittle star interchange. Been a few years since I was last there. Thanks for the heads up, my wife will be for warned. Lol
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Old 01-20-2018, 08:50 PM   #19
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There's a big traffic circle, designed for folks towing campers and boats, on US highway 75 and Kansas State Road/Highway 31/268 in what most people would call pretty much the middle of nowhere.

But there are 3 lakes in the area, so lots of folks towing, and with this circle, no one is forced to stop and then get up to speed to cross a 2-lane highway while towing. Remarkable simple. Yet in a place that is a bit unexpected.
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Old 01-22-2018, 10:58 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mattirs View Post
I am going to have to check out the Fernley brittle star interchange. Been a few years since I was last there. Thanks for the heads up, my wife will be forewarned. Lol
You could have her drive!! I exited east bound I-80 at exit 48, fueled up, and entered the brittle star from the top. Due to its larger size, it was easy peasy. Because of its size the entry/exit points are further apart--some of those small roundabouts you don't feel like you fit well (I'm 52' overall length).

* * * * * * * *

Thanks everyone for chiming in. Summing up, the left hand drive Diverging Diamond interchange has proliferated over the South and West, but not reported up North.

I did a little reading and it seems with two traffic cross over points and two signal locations, a divergent diamond interchange is cheaper to build, maintain, and is safer than the “traditional” right hand drive interchange. With these advantages the divergent diamond is here to stay, so we can all be surprised by occasional left hand driving.

With no signalization and no traffic cross over points, the roundabout is even cheaper and safer. This is, no doubt, why cities and counties are adopting them. But as with everything, there are limits. Pictured below is a brand new roundabout that went ‘live’ summer of 2017 on US 20 north side of Sisters, Oregon. US 20 is one of three highways crossing the 200 mile long Oregon Cascade mountains, and on summer weekend afternoons traffic is bumper-to-bumper once in Sisters. When towing, it is hard to enter the pictured roundabout from the side street because there aren’t any TV + Airstream sized gaps in the traffic flow.



Because of the lower costs, cities like Bend, OR are replacing their 4 way stop and traffic-light-controlled intersections with roundabouts. The way we used to access the Cascades High Lakes/Mt Bachelor/Century Drive area thru Bend now has 4 roundabouts on it. Since these are in residential areas, a high priority has been given to landscaping the roundabout’s center, with the consequence you can’t see traffic in the roundabout until it is right on top of you. Not good when towing but looks greenly upscale.

So how is it where you are?
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