Zipper merge - applying to keep traffic moving

New signage at US 101 and SR 8 relies on lessons from grade school to zip commuters through

By Doug Adamson

Sharing, taking turns, treating others as you'll desire to be handled - seems the courses we realized as youngsters will assist South Sounders navigate a brand new "zipper merge" on the US 101 and State Route 8 interchange. It's a sensible strategy to an vintage difficulty which will count on tourists taking that "Northwest nice" adage to heart.

As always, being well mannered and cooperative has advantages. In this case, it's going to assist scale back congestion, delays, and the form of annoying backups that may turn a candy demeanor sour.

The situation

During the morning commute, southbound US 101 close to Steamboat Island outdoor Olympia has traditional congestion. Two lanes scale back to at least one the place the freeway passes underneath SR 8. Most commuters merge into the left lane after indicators propose that the proper lane ends in a good deal no longer up to a mile.

All of these cars filled into one lane creates a lengthy line of slower-moving tourists slogging by the interchange. All the while, the proper lane is going routinely unused, until for a couple of who zoom by, eliciting scowls and scorn from all the drivers ready in line.

Why no longer broaden the roadway?

Extension of a moment lane underneath SR 8 would remove the bottleneck, nevertheless it'd require crews to demolish NULL present bridges and rebuild them with a lot higher and extra dear spans - a really dear and time-consuming endeavor.

Enter the zipper merge

The zipper merge is all about making probably probably the foremost of the present roadway by having drivers rethink what it potential to "drive nice." Instead of merging whereas up the hill close to Steamboat Island, we desire drivers to merge nearer to the aspect the place the lane ends. Vehicles will politely change off, letting their neighbor continue at a good secure speed, simply like a zipper.

Although it'd possibly really sense like cheating, merging at this place on this type will assist cut congestion and growth the efficiency of the present highway. Nobody is dishonest or chopping in line. When you power good within the zipper, all the unused freeway will get used, so we are going to all get there with lowered congestion and lowered scowling.

What's the timeline?

We will set up new indicators in overdue June to inspire use of the zipper merge. This attempt is a pilot venture that we are going to assessment for doubtless use in different areas.