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New I-75/University Parkway diverging diamond traffic pattern interchange now open

Posted at 2:29 AM, May 22, 2017

It is hit or miss reactions to the new intersection pattern on University Parkway along the Sarasota/Manatee County line. It could affect your morning commute.

Some drivers seem to be doing just fine, others are a little confused. A jeep gets halfway through the 'diverging diamond' interchange before the driver stops to look around.

"The first one in the state of Florida, the largest one in the nation," said Marlena Gore, 

an interstate construction project manager for FDOT. She says confusion is expected because it's new. The speed limit is 35 miles per hour and FDOT

 says that won't change.

"Change is scary and innovative change can be a little worrisome."

Gore says the new pattern should cut down on accidents - eliminating contact points between cars traveling in opposite directions, and left turns crossing over traffic.

Left lanes head towards I-75,  all others head straight and shift back to the correct side of the road after you're through the intersection.

"It's just a mess, it's really sad," said Connie Occhionero, a driver in the area who isn't happy about the changes.

Hours after the road opened cars trying to head north on I-75 began piling up. 

"I won't even go up University Parkway to get on the interstate now, and I'm afraid to get on the interstate from

Fruitville

that I'm going to be backed up here. It's really sad. It's really sad. It's dangerous," she said.

Gore says it will take time to get used to it - but says everyone should put down the distractions, like their phone, and focus on the road.

If you'd like to read more about the project, click HERE.