Fact Finders: Merge early or late when one lane is closed?

MoDot is encouraging you to do “The Zipper Merge”
Published: Aug. 25, 2021 at 10:32 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - We have a number of construction zones around the Ozarks where one lane is closed. So, our Fact Finders question this week; Do you merge as soon as possible when one lane is closed? The answer is -- NO.

The Missouri Department of Transportation is encouraging people to do, “The Zipper Merge.” The agency even has this cute video. It shows people merging early and only using one lane. It also shows people using both lanes and merging right before the closed lane to demonstrate the difference.

MoDot says if we change the way we merge, we can cut back-ups by 40-to-50-percent.

“We want to the traveling public to use both lanes. Because that route prevents the congestion, keeps people moving... because if you use just one lane, the traffic is going to back up. But if you’re using both lanes, then you’re using the most amount of space that’s possible,” commented MoDot Springfield Resident Engineer Brad Gripka.

Now, there are always exceptions to the rule. In this case, if there’s light traffic and you can drive at the speed limit, go ahead and merge early. But, if it’s slow going and backed up, use both lanes as long as possible.

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