Motorists driving on Highway 54 in Osage Beach are being urged to use an alternative type of merge technique
Motorists driving on Highway 54 in Osage Beach are being urged by the Missouri Department of Transportation to use an alternative type of merge technique. Bridge work along Highway 54 at the Grand Glaize Arm of the Lake of the Ozarks bridge has caused backups and delays. To help ease the congestion, motorists are asked to use the “zipper merge” and take turns to merge safely as they come into the work zone. When approaching a lane closure in a work zone, some motorists start to merge as soon as they see warning signs and learn which lane ahead is closed. However, this can fill the open lane quickly. When a driver in the closed lane can’t move into the open lane in time, the closed lane ends forcing the vehicle to suddenly stop. The vehicle must now join traffic from a dead stop. This driving behavior can lead to lane switching, and inconsistent driving speeds that cause crashes, long back-ups, and road rage. MODOC officials say that, by using two full lanes of traffic until the merge, your speed difference is reduced between the two lanes, and the length of backups is reduced by 40 to 50 percent. When both lanes continue to move slowly, everyone is equally delayed, which also reduces road rage.