ROUND ROCK, Texas— A traffic solution turned out to be a traffic nightmare for Round Rock drivers Friday.
A rare style of intersection called the diverging diamond officially opened at FM 1431 and I-35. TxDOT created an animation showing how the new intersection would flow, showing traffic moving through smoothly.
That was not the reality. The consensus among drivers was: "very confusing."
Their feelings mirrored ours as we took it for a spin.
The new interchange moves drivers into former oncoming lanes of traffic to create a diamond shape. We found old markings still visible on the roadway and cones meant to help guide drivers seemed to make matters worse.
People flagged us down to vent.
"We had a perfectly good road and now they've just turn it into, I don't know what they're doing," Randy said, who drives on the intersection.
One major change you will find on the frontage roads leading into the interchange is how drivers can no longer go straight at the light. Drivers must either turn east or west on FM 1431.
Some outlet mall shoppers will have to re-train themselves to take a bypass or the Westinghouse exit.
"I’m trying to get to the mall over there and it's crazy. I have no idea how to get there. I think I have to go in and turn another half a mile to get across the road," said another driver.
Chris Bishop, who is the spokesperson for TxDOT, asks drivers to give it time.
"The learning curve, we understand. We are going to be out there checking, finding ways to tweak it, the police should be out there for most of the week helping people move them along and until everything moves very smoothly," he said.
Bishop expects the interchange to reduce wait time during peak hours by up to 50-percent. That stat, he said, accounts for the next 10 years based on growth patterns.
There will still be nightly closures as crews complete the interchange.
Crews will re-pave and re-stripe the roadway this spring.