'Zipper merge' proposed for Saskatoon work zones
A plan is underway to introduce a new form of traffic control, called zipper merging, to ease congestion approaching construction zones in Saskatoon.
Zipper merging requires motorists to use two lanes as they near a merging point and then, at the point where traffic is reduced to just one lane, drivers take turns advancing.
Saskatoon police are working with city officials to introduce the concept, which has been used successfully in other parts of North America.
Proponents of zipper merging say it avoids long lines of traffic in a single lane, as drivers come upon a section of roadway that is forced to merge from two lanes to one.
Saskatoon police Staff Sergeant Grant Obst, who heads the department's traffic unit, says the new form of merging should speed up things in construction zones.
"We have to get Saskatoon motorists to view it not as, "Oh, that guy is zipping down that free lane or not taking his turn, or who does he think he is," Obst explained.
He says meetings with the city are set for near the end of August, to work on plans for introducing the new system.
Obst noted it may take some time for drivers to fully understand how a zipper merge is supposed to happen.