Unlike a traditional diamond interchange, each direction of Houghton Road traffic temporarily shifts to the left while crossing the freeway. This allows for left turns onto the entrance ramps without waiting at an additional traffic signal. The design also promotes safety because drivers turning left do not cross traffic while entering the on-ramp. Signals, signs, and pavement markings help guide drivers through the interchange.
The interchange features larger entrance and exit ramps, along with more space for traffic to merge onto I-10 westbound. Over the freeway, the old two-lane Houghton Road bridge has been replaced with a structure that features six lanes and improved access for pedestrians and bicyclists.
ADOT traffic engineers chose the diverging diamond design because it can handle higher traffic volumes in the growing part of the southeast Tucson area, where traffic is expected to increase by as much as 50 percent by 2045. ADOT minimized traffic disruption by keeping most of the interchange open during the project, which began in August 2019.