The Colorado Department of Transportation has launched a new series of messages to inform drivers about the “late merge,” a lane merging technique aimed at reducing traffic delays through construction zones.
CDOT’s late merge messages, which consist of highway signs and an online video (shown below), emphasize travelers’ use of all open lanes until a work zone’s actual merge point.
The agency has used the signs at its State Highway 95 bridge construction and Interstate 70/Twin Tunnels widening projects, where signs direct drivers entering works zones to:
Use both lanes during congestion
Use both lanes to merge point
Take turns merge here
CDOT Director of Operations Ryan Rice said the agency began implementing the messages because “congestion [would increase] through construction projects when vehicles merge into a single lane too soon, creating unnecessary backups prior to the work area.”
“Our goal is to improve both traffic flow and work zone safety by reducing the frustration and confusion that drivers often experience when merging,” Rice said. “By following the directions on the signs, drivers should experience reduced delays.”
The late merge method has shortened delays by up to 35 percent, according to recent study data.
CDOT is still urging drivers to merge early in non-congested areas.