Drivers might feel a little strange the first couple of times they use the new diverging diamond interchange (DDI) at I-29 and Tiffany Springs Parkway. The project, designed to ease traffic congestion at the intersection that frequently backed up onto the interstate, cost $14 million and took nearly two years to complete. The new interchange was originally designed in France. Missouri became the first state to use the design after installing a similar interchange in Springfield. MoDOT now maintains 11 such interchanges — four in the KC Metro. This is the first one installed in Platte County. “The first time you go through it, it’s very confusing,” said Greg Razer, a staffer from the office of Senator Claire McCaskill, at a grand opening ceremony held on site Aug. 20. “You really feel like you’re doing something wrong. The second time you go through, you know what you’re doing is right, but it still feels wrong. The third time through it, you wonder how you ever lived without it.” The new interchange features traffic that goes against customary driving tenants in America. The main idea of the interchange is to send traffic on the left side of the median to briefly allow left-handed turns to be made without crossing traffic. After exiting the interchange, traffic crosses back across the median into more traditional lane structures with the assistance of traffic lights. “The DDI is the new innovative type of interchange where it feels like you are driving on the wrong side of the road,” MoDOT assistant district engineer Brian Kidwell said. “It’s designed for heavy turning movements where people on the interstate want to get off and the people on the cross street want to get on the interstate. It’s exceptional at handling high volume turning movements. It’s a perfect interchange. “It makes it so much easier to access the area. Other areas I’m sure drivers know they get caught in a sea of stop lights.” Work on the interchange began in March of 2013. In total the new interchange has been in the works since 2010 from securing the needed funding to design and finally construction. “It came through a long process,” Kansas City city councilman Ed Ford said. “The Mid-America Regional Council set priorities. This interchange was a mess. Something needed to be done.” Missouri Department of Transportation installed the new interchange with partnerships with the Kansas City Aviation Department and local, state and federal government assistance. The project was paid for with KCI Corridor TIF financing as well as federal grant money, state cost sharing money and local support.