This is in rebuttal to an Aug. 30 letter, “Proper road rules for merging.’’
This gentleman has written a perfect script for a lane closure traffic tie-up. In Pennsylvania, it doesn’t matter if the right or left lane is closed; if they place a sign at all, it reads, “Use both lanes to merge point.’’
I have driven all over the USA and Canada, and most states will post a sign indicating the lane that’s closed miles before you reach the closure point. Example, “Left lane closed 4 miles ahead,” “Merge right now.’’ This system allows the single line of vehicles to flow through the lane closure at highway-posted speed.
The zipper system may sound good but in effect doesn’t work. In the bottleneck you’re trying to merge tractor-trailers, compact cars, campers, motorcycles, etc., thus slowing traffic.
On Aug. 29, as I was traveling Route 81 South, there was just some guardrail repair, and it took 20 minutes of stop-and-go traffic to go 2 miles. A truck finally pulled his rig over the center line, preventing the “me-first drivers’’ from clogging traffic in the bottleneck.
The system that functions best, and is safe, is to merge early, stay in the open lane and keep up the pace.
Forget the zipper effect: It’s slow, hazardous, a waste of fuel and a sure recipe for a traffic backup.
It’s simple — the goal is to get the most vehicles through the construction zone in the shortest period time.