Drivers no longer need to cross into oncoming Highway 1 traffic near Pilot Butte to access Emerald Park.
The satellite community opened its new overpass with a diverging diamond interchange (DDI) on Friday morning.
Doug Wakabayashi, spokesperson for the Ministry of Highways and Infrastructure, said the Pilot Butte DDI helps cut down on the number of potential collisions along the Regina Bypass Project, east of the city, by about half.
“The conflict points that do exist now (on the DDI) are more side-swipe collisions, if they do happen — and at much lower speeds, which reduces the risk of fatalities and injuries,” he explained.
Since the DDI takes up less land than an average interchange, Wakabayashi noted it’s also slightly cheaper to build.
Originally, the Pilot Butte overpass was slated to open in October 2019, then it was bumped up to October 2017. Due to the faster pace of construction, the date moved forward once again to March.
Drivers have three options when they first approach the DDI: exit right, or head through the first set of traffic signals to exit left or go straight through. Should drivers want to head straight, they’ll pass through another set of lights. The unusual part is that drivers do this all on the left side of the median.
According to the Ministry of Highways and Infrastructure, this design helps maintain traffic flow and allows for easier and safer left turns.
This is the first DDI in Saskatchewan and the second across Canada, after Calgary.