Zipper merging explained

Local News

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Sioux Falls mayor says it’s time to embrace zipper merging.

Mayor Paul TenHaken posted about the driving technique on Facebook Thursday, and it generated hundreds of comments.

The zipper method can be used in road construction areas where drivers have to merge into a lane.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation shows in a 2011 animation how the zipper merge works.

Both lanes are used leading up to the merge point and drivers take turns getting into the open lane that runs through the construction site.

Meanwhile, the early merge animation shows, in dense traffic, many cars moving into the open lane ahead of time, making it tricky for other drivers to merge.

Several drivers KELOLAND News talked to Friday in Sioux Falls weren’t familiar with the term zipper merge.

However, driver Ryan Bartel says he’s aware of the concept. He says a lot of drivers are courteous and do you let you into their lane.

“I appreciate when drivers do that for me, so I try to do the same, but it doesn’t always turn out that way and sometimes you gotta cut someone off a little bit,” Driver Ryan Bartel said.

The Minnesota DOT says the benefits of using the zipper method include reducing the differences in speed between the two lanes and cutting down on traffic backup.

MnDOt says early merging works for lighter, free-flowing traffic.

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