Long-term lane closure coming to I-41: Drivers are asked to use the zipper merge technique

Posted at 6:30 AM, Jun 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-14 19:56:15-04

MILWAUKEE — More construction work is coming to the north leg of the Zoo Interchange project.

On Monday, drivers can expect to see one lane closed from Swan Blvd to Capitol Drive on both the north and southbound side.

In conjunction with the closure, the northbound Watertown Plank Road on-ramp will also be closed.

During the lane closure, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation is asking drivers to use the zipper merge, a merging technique Michael Pyritz with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation said worked well for them during construction of the east leg of the Zoo Interchange.

“There are going to be two zipper merge points as part of this closure one northbound at Watertown plank the other one southbound Capitol drive,” said Pyritz

Drivers should use all three lanes until they approach the merge signs, they then should then merge together in an alternating fashion.

“We don’t want people drifting over and trying to block the lane we really want people to use all 3 lanes. So someone is not trying to cut in front of you or get around the line they are just doing what we are asking them to do,” said Pyritz.

According to WisDOT, when the technique is used correctly it can reduce traffic backups by 40%. The lanes are expected to be closed until August and with construction just beginning, officials suggest planning your route ahead of time.

“Allow extra time for you to get to whatever your destination is it is already a busy stretch of roadway and now being down to two lanes we fully expect there are going to be delayed,” said Pyritz.

To view the zipper merge technique, click here.

Report a typo or error // Submit a news tip