It’s OK to drive on the left side of the road? What to know about a new I-95 interchange

Your commute may be changing if you use a busy I-95 interchange just north of the Broward County line.

At the Glades Road entrance in Boca Raton — which leads to a shopping mall, financial district and Florida Atlantic University — drivers will suddenly find themselves on the left side of the road.

No, you haven’t been transported to London. It’s called a “diverging diamond” interchange and it made its debut this past week.

Here’s what to know about the changes to the I-95 entrance and exit at Glades Road before your next trip:

A map of the diverging diamond interchange at Glades Road and I-95.
A map of the diverging diamond interchange at Glades Road and I-95.

What is a diverging diamond interchange?

A diverging diamond interchange allows traffic traveling in opposite directions to temporarily cross over and drive on the left side of the road, much like London drivers do.

Experts say the traffic flow on the left side of the road cuts traffic headaches and the potential for accidents. That’s because drivers getting on or off a highway won’t need to cross opposing traffic to make a left turn onto a main street.

Why the change at Glades Road?

It’s all about safety — and less congestion on the road.

The Florida Department of Transportation expects that the Glades Road interchange will cause a 33% drop in major crashes, making it safer to get on and off I-95. The interchange’s two traffic lights — instead of the usual four — will also allow drivers to pass through more efficiently.

The interchange now includes wrong-way warnings, signs and pavement markings to guide drivers along the new path. Safety measures for pedestrians and cyclists include a pedestrian bridge, pathways and bike lanes.

What else should drivers know?

While police are guiding commuters as everyone adjusts to the new Glades Road interchange, it’s best to have a plan before navigating the area.

Some advice:

Slow down as you approach the new set up. Remember that the speed limit is now 35 mph.

Follow the pavement markings, but respect signs and traffic lights.

Don’t rely on a GPS. The technology might not be updated with the new set-up.

Be on the lookout for changes. Work on the interchange isn’t completed as the transportation department needs to open a fourth lane and add another layer of asphalt.

Diverging diamond interchanges are here to stay, so get used to them. Miami has similar interchanges along the Dolphin Expressway at Northwest 57th Avenue and Northwest 27th Avenue.

And more are on the way, including:

Under construction: Turnpike Extension at Northwest 170th Street

Early planning: I-75 at Miami Gardens Drive

Early planning: I-95 at Ives Dairy Road

Approved: Sawgrass Expressway at Sunrise Boulevard

Approved: Sawgrass Expressway at West Commercial Boulevard

Approved: Sawgrass Expressway at Sample Road

Approved: Sawgrass Expressway at Coral Ridge Drive

What did drivers think when the redesign came to Miami?

Drivers were skeptical when the Miami-Dade Expressway Authority rolled out the redesigned lanes in 2019.

A sample of their comments on the authority’s social media:

So happy I just moved out of Miami lol.

Miami-Dade Drivers: “They can’t make the roads any worse. ‘MDX: “Hold my Beer.’”

Please tell me there are cameras there. I love a good demolition derby!!!!

You are going to do this in Miami, have you gone mad. This is going to have serious consequences and major accidents.

“Follow all traffic signal and pavement markings” ... (Therein lies the problem).

“It’s not confusing at all,” Juan Toledo of the Expressway Authority said at a community meeting back then.. “The drivers are going to be channelized into where they need to drive.”