JEFFERSON CITY – Motorists will notice an increase in work zones as warmer summer weather equals the start of a busy season of construction and maintenance work in mid-Missouri. Many of these work zones will involve merging, especially in active work zones on U.S. Route 54 from Fulton to Jefferson City, on U.S. Route 63 at Bonne Femme Creek near Columbia, and on the Interstate 44 bridges over Smith and Tater Hollow near Jerome.
When encountering work zones where two lanes merge into one in heavy traffic congestion, the Missouri Department of Transportation is encouraging motorists to take turns and merge like a zipper.
“Research shows driver frustration decreases and traffic moves more smoothly when motorists use both lanes and take turns merging every other vehicle in a ‘zipper’ fashion into the open lane,” said MoDOT Central District Construction and Materials Engineer Randy Aulbur. “Using both lanes and merging like a zipper can reduce congestion by up to 40 percent.”
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. In heavy congestion, MoDOT urges drivers to use both lanes up until the merge point, taking turns and merging in a zipper-like fashion.
For more information about zipper merging, please visit MoDOT’s zipper merge webpage at http://www.modot.org/workzones/ZipperMerge.htm. For other transportation matters, call 1-888-ASK-MoDOT (275-6636), visit www.modot.org/central, or follow the Central District Facebook page at www.Facebook.com/MoDOTCentralMissouriDistrict.