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Traffic Pattern Changes Coming to I-99 Project; PennDOT Urges Drivers to Use Zipper Merge

by on June 14, 2018 2:07 PM

A traffic pattern change is coming to the ongoing road work on a portion of Interstate 99 in Centre County, and PennDOT is reminding drivers to use both lanes until the merge point when traffic is reduced to one lane.

Beginning Monday, northbound and southbound traffic will be diverted to the passing lanes in the work zone, which encompasses a 3-mile section in College and Patton townships, between the the Atherton Street exit and the bridges spanning the Bellefonte Trail near the Waddle Road interchange.

The change allows the contractor to begin milling the bituminous surface from the travel lane decks of the bridges. Milling is expected to begin Tuesday. Repairs to the travel lane decks are expected to begin Wednesday and continue through Saturday, June 23.

Motorists approaching the work zone should use the "zipper merge," utilizing both lanes to the merge point, according to PennDOT. 

"At the merge point, take turns merging into the open lane and proceed through the work zone," a PennDOT news release stated. "By cooperating and using the late merge system, it will create a zipper-like effect that will allow traffic to move more fluidly through the zone, reduce travel delays and discourage aggressive merging."

PennDOT noted that drivers can be cited for preventing other drivers from late merging by blocking a lane or attempting to force them off the road.

"Penalties for traffic citations are doubled in work zones and aggressive driving behaviors are among the leading causes of highway crashes and fatalities in Pennsylvania," the news release said.

In a column earlier this week, columnist Patty Kleban advocated for using the zipper merge and recounted witnessing a driver run another off the road for doing so, as well as other reports of aggressive drivers angered by motorists using the recommended merge procedure.

The first phase of the I-99 roadway improvement project is expected to be completed by July 2. Once structure repairs are complete, nighttime milling and paving will take place on the northbound lanes from 7 p.m. to 5 a.m. and on the southbound lanes from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. Short term lane closures will be in effect while this work is taking place and the roadway will remain open when work is not taking place.

Work will stop for the Fourth of July holiday and from July 12-15 for the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts.




Geoff Rushton is managing editor for Contact him at [email protected] or find him on Twitter at @geoffrushton.
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