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What's a Zipper Merge? It's Coming to a Northern Kentucky Bridge

Do you know what a zipper merge is?

A zipper merge will begin Monday to help traffic flow on the Interstate 275 Carroll Cropper Bridge restoration project. The signage will be in place by the afternoon rush hour. 

The zipper merge concept directs motorists to use both traffic lanes until reaching the defined merge area, and then to merge alternately in “zipper” fashion into the open lane.

It is being implemented on the Carroll Cropper Bridge project to help with significant backups and motorist frustration. The bridge has an average daily traffic count of 33,000 vehicles and there are no alternative routes to use. 

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet works with the Kentucky Transportation Center on research and technology on how to improve Kentucky’s roadways. The KTC determined that the Carroll Cropper Bridge project would benefit from the zipper merge, according to a news release.

“This maintenance project has caused significant impacts to traffic using the I-275 corridor between Kentucky and Indiana.” said Rob Hans, Chief District Engineer for Department of Highways District 6, in Covington. “The zipper merge will help driver frustration and improve traffic flow.”

Motorists will see zipper merge signs to instruct drivers where and how to merge.  The first sign will notify drivers to “Use Both Lanes During Backup”.  At the merge point, a sign will indicate “merge here” by showing two traffic lanes converging into a single lane.  Additionally, the sign will instruct drivers to “Take Turns” which is critical to fully employ the zipper merge concept. 

Zipper merging will improve traffic flow, prevent confusion, alleviate frustration, and reduce congestion, the Transportation Cabinet said in a news release.

Failure to take turns will cause more delay for everyone, the Cabinet said.

-Staff report