Radical interchange the center of debate in University Parkway proposal

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SARASOTA, Fla. - As we first told you on Thursday, the intersection at University Parkway and I-75 may be seeing a major makeover, with the goal to improve traffic flow. But not everyone is sold on the idea of constructing what's known as a diverging diamond to make it happen.

People working roadside in the area can tell you how bad the traffic is. “I think traffic is definitely a bad problem out here. We've been out here for the last few months working, and it’s very chaotic,” says road worker Jeff Costodio.

Local drivers also notice the problem. “All I can tell you is there is just too much traffic now, and they need to have either more lanes or a better system of getting it on and off the expressway,” says area realtor Carrol Marra.

“It's terrible; I avoid it as often as I possibly can. I go up and take State Road 70 when I am going to the interstate…it's easier,” says retiree Joyce Hodges.

And out of towners are recognizing the problem too. “It was a little confusing; we were trying to get off and go into the hotel and then into the mall, and it was very confusing and it took several lights as we waited and waited,” says Karen Freebern, visiting from Michigan.

Transportation officials and county lawmakers say a diverging diamond will cut down on the traffic at the intersection. The radical interchange would allow high volumes of traffic to move through an intersection without adding and traffic lanes or traffic signals.

The new system calls for all travel lanes on University Parkway to briefly criss-cross, which will allow easy left turns for motorists entering the interstate’s on-ramps, eliminating the need for left-turn traffic lights.

Diamond Interchage proposal at University Parkway

And some say making this new system will only mean more construction -- and more traffic.