Drivers urged to “zipper/late merge”

US 160/550 high bridge project in south Durango limits traffic to one lane in each direction

DURANGO — With safety in mind, the Colorado Department of Transportation along with American Civil Constructors will decrease traffic to one lane in each direction on the “high bridge” on US 160/550 located between Bodo Park and Walmart. Motorists in the Durango area will experience single lane traffic restrictions at the bridge which will help with construction efforts and will maintain safety for crews and motorists.

“As the construction crew began set up of the work zone last week, it was realized that a one lane restriction (both east- and westbound) would provide a safer environment for workers and drivers,” said CDOT Resident Engineer, Jason Fullerton. “CDOT’s traffic division quickly assisted with the new configuration which will create a safety buffer for the workers behind the barrier. The extra room will allow for more efficient work during all phases of the project.”

As traffic narrows to one lane at the bridge work zone, CDOT instructs drivers to use both lanes all the way to the merge point. This traffic pattern, also known as a “zipper or late merge,” allows for smoother more efficient merging and less stop-and-go traffic. (YouTube video: How to merge in a work zone)

“We know it’s a bit counter to what we are accustomed to as drivers, but we urge keeping both lanes of traffic moving all the way up to where the single lane begins. Nobody is taking cuts – be patient and take turns merging.” added Fullerton.




Work will continue to take place from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday. Although work will take place only during the daytime, the following traffic configuration will be in place day and night (24/7). The project and traffic impacts can be expected through the end of December 2019.


CDOT also advises drivers to be aware of an additional nighttime striping project that is happening on the north and west side of the bridge project. Paint crews will be performing pavement marking operations at night from the US 160/550 intersection at the DoubleTree Hotel to the north side of the high bridge, from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. Sundays through Fridays until mid-October.

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