Civil Engineers Trim Century-Old Cloverleaf Interchanges

By: | July 2nd, 2014

Number of Vehicle Miles in US Four Times Greater Than in 1960

Anyone who has driven for even a short amount of time has probably encountered a cloverleaf interchange. These expressway interchanges have loop ramps through which entering and exiting traffic travel. There is a hazardous area where traffic exiting a loop must merge with or weave into high-speed traffic, often requiring vehicles traveling at a high rate of speed to slow down quickly to accommodate emerging vehicle. This problem has become particularly acute due to the rapid urbanization taking place around the world, leading to a much higher concentration of vehicles in and around cities and an unacceptably high rate of accidents.

A Century Old Design

The first cloverleaf interchange was patented by civil engineer Arthur Hale in Maryland in 1916. The first constructed was the Woodbridge Cloverleaf. The cloverleaf interchanges could handle more traffic than diamond interchanges and did not require traffic signals.

New Designs For “Thicker” Traffic

Recently, highway departments have been altering the design of cloverleaf interchanges. Four leaf clover’s are being “trimmed” with two or three of the clover loop ramps being eliminated and replaced with flyover ramps and tunnels.Kathipara Cloverleaf India (Image Courtesy

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David Russell Schilling

David enjoys writing about high technology and its potential to make life better for all who inhabit planet earth.

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