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Missouri Department of Transportation

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Merge Like a Zipper.
Wait to Merge. Take Turns.

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April 11-15 is the 2016 National Work Zone Awareness Week.

Every spring, the Missouri Department of Transportation prepares for a busy summer season of construction and maintenance work across the state.

Click to enlarge the map to the right so you can see the high traffic impacting work zones in Missouri for summer 2016.

Most motorists start to merge as soon as they see warning signs and learn which lane ahead is closed. When the highway is not heavily congested and traffic is able to move at the speed limit, it is best to merge early into the open lane.

However, in dense, slow moving traffic, the open lane fills quickly and can back up for miles. Research shows driver frustration decreases and traffic moves more smoothly when motorists use both lanes until reaching the defined merge area and then alternate merging every other vehicle in "zipper" fashion into the open lane. Using both lanes and merging like a zipper can reduce congestion up to 40 percent!

Motorists are also reminded of the  2012 “Move Over” law, which protects law enforcement, emergency response vehicles and MoDOT vehicles  parked on the side of the road.  This law requires motorists to slow down or change lanes when approaching these vehicles.

The top five contributing circumstances for work zone crashes in 2015 were following too closely, inattention, improper lane use or changing lanes, failed to yield, and driving too fast for conditions -- in that order.

Please pay attention and drive safely in work zones. Wait to merge and take turns with the other drivers on the road.

We want you and our workers to make it home safe every day.

A listing of the 2016 worst traffic impacting work zones on Missouri interstates and major roads is available HERE.



Kids share thoughts on merging. 2016 Zipper Merge PSA

MoDOT wants every employee and all travelers to get home safe. Check out the Traveler Information Map any time you travel and find out what work zones you’ll encounter before you go.

  • In 2015 eight people were killed in work zone crashes on state system routes and an additional one on the local system, for a total of nine fatalities.
  • Between 2010 and 2015, 54 people were killed in work zone crashes on state system routes and an additional seven on the local system, for a total of 61 fatalities
  • Between 2010 and 2015, 3,222 people were injured in Missouri work zones on state system routes and an additional 908 on the local system, for a total of 4,130 injuries.
  • Since 2000, 17 MoDOT employees have been killed in the line of duty.
  • In 2015, 63 percent of vehicle occupant fatalities were not wearing a seat belt.
  • The best defense in a work zone crash, or any crash, is a seat belt.

Here are a few tools to help keep you safe and informed:

The Traveler Information Map lets you see active work zones before you get in your car so you can plan your trip accordingly.

Rate Our Work Zones – This form allows you to tell us how we can improve our work zones and keep traffic moving.

Multimedia – We use radio and internet advertising and our changeable message boards to remind travelers to be alert and drive safely in work zones.


Letter from Josie Beard  
In May 2012, construction worker Dennis Beard was killed as he worked on I-64 in Illinois. His family asks all motorists to slow down and remember to do their part to make sure everyone gets home safe. (pdf)  

Don't Zone Out in Work Zones

Buckle Up! – Every trip, every time – safety belts save lives.

Stay Alert! – Dedicate your full attention to the roadway.

Follow Signs! – They’ll guide you through work zones safely.

Expect the Unexpected! – Watch for flaggers, workers and equipment.

Pay Attention! – Turn the radio down and don’t use your cellular phone.

Be Patient! – Remember workers are improving the road for future travels.

Don’t Speed!– Follow posted limits and adjust for weather conditions.

Don’t Drink and Drive! – Impairment of any kind is unacceptable.

Be Nice! – Merge as directed, don’t tailgate and don’t change lanes in a work zone.


No One Likes a Distracted Driver! Especially not in our work zones. Enjoy this quick video illustrating the chaos distracted driving can create....even if you're pushing a shopping cart!


The documents are provided in Acrobat Reader format. Free Acrobat Reader download PDF Icon

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Missouri Department of Transportation
Central Office
105 W. Capitol Avenue
Jefferson City, MO 65102
1-888-ASK-MODOT (275-6636)
1-866-831-6277 (Motor Carrier Services)
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