Saskatchewan's first 'diverging diamond' interchange opens to traffic

Saskatchewan’s new diverging diamond interchange was unveiled to the public on Friday as part of the province's largest transportation infrastructure project.

The Ministry of Highways and Infrastructure said the design will improve safety and traffic flow

The diverging diamond interchange is an increasingly popular roadway design in the United States. (Government of Saskatchewan)

Saskatchewan's new diverging diamond interchange opened to traffic Friday as part of the province's largest transportation infrastructure project.

The Pilot Butte overpass — part of the Regina Bypass project — opened 20 months ahead of schedule on Friday.

"Improving safety through the corridor east of Regina is a priority of our government and we are pleased to be able to provide the residents of Pilot Butte with a safer access to their community earlier than expected," said Highways and Infrastructure Minister David Marit in a news release, adding that it was completed within the budget.

The interchange, located about 14 kilometres east of Regina, is the first of its kind in Saskatchewan and the second in Canada.  

Now residents travelling the stretch of road will learn how to navigate the interchange design.

Pilot Butte Mayor Peggy Chorney said she's thrilled with the opening since collisions have been a contentious issue in the area.

"We recognize that the design is new to many drivers, but anticipate fewer collisions since turning vehicles no longer have to cross traffic," said Chorney.

According to the Ministry of Highways and Infrastructure, the design allows for easier left turns and helps maintain traffic flow.

Traffic lights guide drivers to their preferred lane along the interchange, allowing them to cross back and forth safely.

The Government of Canada said it will be investing upwards of $200 million in the project through Public-Private Partnerships.