Confusion, Distraction and Danger At I-580 And Moana

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If you were plotting traffic accidents on a map of local roadways, the stretch of I-580 at Moana would show up as a problem location

"A huge problem," says Nevada Highway Patrol spokeswoman Barb Stapleton.

There have been a number of accidents on the freeway in recent weeks. Some like the most recent Wednesday morning ended with vehicles climbing the safety barriers, but the number that really jumps out at you are rear end collisions.

Sixteen of them in the past two months. There were just two during the same period last year.

There's a reason.

Down below the freeway, NDOT is working feverishly to complete work on a new interchange and the RTC is completing its widening of Moana.

That means a lot of activity and a lot of orange cones down here and up on the freeway.

And that may be the problem. Say you're driving south on I-580 approaching Moana. There are a lot of cones. The ramps have been closed, but at the last moment it seems one may be open now.

There's a lot going on and its all confusing and distracting and in that moment of distraction and confusion, you may slow down or the vehicle in front of you may slow down. That's how you get rear enders.

The good news is they are just about done down here. NDOT says work will be completed in about two weeks.

That may not end all the confusion, however, what they are building here is something we haven't seen in Nevada before.

It's called a diverging diamond interchange and for motorists still not sold on roundabouts, it's going to be one more unwelcome change.

It's a little hard to explain, but it guides you into a maneuver that may leave you feeling you're going the wrong way the first time you encounter it.

NDOT says it moves traffic quickly by offering a free left turn. It works, but there's going to be a learning curve.

Then and now, standard advice applies.

"Slow down, pay attention to your driving, limit your distractions and leave a few car lengths between you and the car in front of you," says Stapleton.

If you'd like to preview that "Diverging Diamond Interchange" before you have to navigate it, we've set up this link will take you to an NDOT animation which will explain.