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Single Point Urban Interchanges The Wave Of The Future

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DURHAM — As the Triangle's traffic troubles grow, so grows the need for new ideas to keep cars moving. The Single Point Urban Interchange, or SPUI, is one of those ideas.

Many drivers are confused by the new interchange, but the Department of Transportation says it is the wave of the future.

Next door to the new Streets of Southpoint mall, drivers will encounter the just-opened SPUI at the intersection of Interstate 40 and Fayetteville Road.

The new interchange features broad, diagonal traffic patterns intended to keep more cars on the move.

Oncoming traffic sometimes passes drivers on the right, confusing people who approach the interchange for the first time.

"While it is new, it is something that you're going to see a whole lot more often, especially in the urban areas. North Carolina has a lot of urban areas now and we find that they do function better and that's what it's all about in these tight spots with high volumes," said John Nance, DOT division engineer.

The DOT admits it needs to work on pavement markings. In some areas there are no lane dividers and no directional arrows.

When the permanent lane markings are installed, there will be more of them, but some drivers say it is already confusing where the pavement is painted.

Others drivers are optimistic.

"We'll have to see what happens when we open up all the rest of these stores. When everything else gets out here, and we have a full load of crowds, then we'll know what happens," said driver Charles Reap.

The DOT said that there have been no accidents at the new intersection, but there have been some close calls.