July 30, 2015

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Kansas City District

Zipper Merging Will Help I-70 Travelers Through Work Zone Congestion

perry zipper merging

Drivers along Interstate 70 in the Kansas City area are getting used to a new way of merging through work zones - the zipper merge has been implemented and promoted in the Metro Area.

Two projects along I-70 in the Kansas City are using zipper merging in the work zones in both Jackson and Saline counties. Bridge repairs along I-70 at the Sni-A-Bar Bridges outside Oak Grove and Blackwater Bridges near Sedalia have created miles of backups and this newer merge method is hoping to help ease congestion.

“This is a different type of merge that motorists may not be used to seeing, but on highly congested routes, this is the best way to keep traffic moving safely," said Chris Redline, Kansas City assistant district engineer. "The safest merging is to think about two lanes merging into one. Not one lane merging into the other."

In most work zones, motorists start to merge as soon as they see warning signs, however, in dense, slow-moving traffic like on I-70, the open lane fills 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 then join traffic from a dead stop. This driving behavior can lead to lane switching, inconsistent driving speeds that cause crashes, long back-ups and road rage.

"Research shows these dangers decrease and traffic moves more smoothly when motorists use both lanes until reaching the defined merge area and then alternate merging every other vehicle - like the teeth of a zipper -- into the open lane," Redline said.


MoDOT Kansas City District Employees

Keep It "All In the Family"

A family tradition of working at MoDOT in Kansas City continues, as sisters Kara and Erin Rottinghaus start their careers in the same building. And they weren’t the first. The sisters’ parents, Mike and Linda Rottinghaus started working with MoDOT over 20 years ago when they first met and fell in love.

“MoDOT helped them meet and literally helped this family start,” Erin said laughing, “Both of them no longer work for the department but it’s a strange coincidence that now their kids do.”

Erin was part of the MoDOT internship program and starting working in Kansas City right after she graduated from Mizzou in May of this year and became part of the design department. And Kara just started work as a Scout Operator about a month ago.

With slightly different hours, both girls are just happy they’re in the same building and only need a quick walk for a five minute ‘hello’.

“We barely see each other, but I like that we’re close enough if we want to,” Kara said.  

Both girls say the best part about having grown up with parents who had MoDOT careers was seeing firsthand the opportunities MoDOT provides.

“Regardless of where our careers take us, I can honestly say we have both learned so much just being here for the short time we have been,” Erin said. “I know wherever we are, having MoDOT on our resume will only add to it… that’s something our parents used to tell us, and something we both realize.” 


For more info

Melissa Black
Communications Manager,
Missouri Department of Transportation
P: (816) 607-2027
F: (816) 365-0860

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