NORTHWEST MIAMI-DADE, FLA. (WSVN) - Drivers in Miami-Dade are about to navigate a different traffic pattern by the Dolphin Expressway, as the first diverging diamond interchange in South Florida opens on Monday.

According to the Miami-Dade Expressway Authority, the new interchange design, nicknamed the DDI, is meant to improve the flow of traffic entering and exiting the highway.

The interchange, located at Northwest 27th Avenue, opens Monday, Aug. 13, while the other at Northwest 57th Avenue is slated to open in the fall.

“What you need to know if there’s going to be a traffic pattern change,” said MDX Director of Engineering Juan Toledo.

A DDI works by temporarily shifting traffic to the left, a move MDX said will make it easier to get on and off the highway. It also allows highway drivers to make U-turns more easily.

“You are improving the travel flow by eliminating conflict points with left-hand turns with opposing traffic and better access to and from the expressway,” Toledo said.

The pattern also offers greater protection for pedestrians with a walkway between concrete barriers and crosswalks guarded by traffic lights.

The change comes in an area that is known for backups. “In the morning and in the afternoon time, very tough traffic,” said cab driver Saindilien Joseph, “so what can we do?”

For some, this change may sound confusing, but MDX officials said there will be plenty of reminders and signs to keep motorists on the right track.

“Be mindful of where you are going, what you are doing, stay in your lanes, obey the traffic laws,” Toledo said. “If you do that, you should get through this area without any problems.”

MDX said the design has been proven in other parts of the country to significantly improve safety and congestion, as it eliminates left turns against oncoming traffic. The new interchanges will be the first of their kind in South Florida.

Officials said law enforcement will be on scene at the interchange for about the next two weeks to make sure traffic runs smoothly.

For more information on how to navigate the DDI, click here.

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