If you aren't doing the "zipper merge," you should be, according to PennDOT.
Motorists should use both lanes to the merge point, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation said Thursday as it announced that a new traffic pattern on Interstate 99 in College and Patton townships will go into effect next week.
"At the merge point, take turns merging into the open lane and proceed through the work zone. 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 said in a release.
Starting Monday, motorists will use the northbound and southbound passing lanes instead of the travel lanes as crews begin milling work on the right side of the bridge that spans the Bellefonte hiking trail, the press release said. The repairs to the bridge's travel lane decks will take place Wednesday-Saturday.
The I-99 project work zone encompasses a three-mile section of the roadway, between the Atherton Street exit and the bridges spanning the Bellefonte trail near the Waddle Road interchange.
In addition to the zipper merge, PennDOT said that "preventing other drivers from using the late merge system by blocking a lane or attempting to force them off the road are aggressive driving behaviors that can result in citations."
Motorists should be aware that penalties for traffic citations are doubled in work zones.
"...Aggressive driving behaviors are among the leading causes of highway crashes and fatalities in Pennsylvania," the release said.
This phase of the construction project is slated to finish up by July 2. However, after the bridge work is completed, nighttime milling and paving will take place from 7 p.m.-5 a.m. on the northbound lanes and from 8 p.m.-6 a.m on the southbound lanes.
Crews will not work on the Fourth of July or from July 12-15 during the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts.
Glenn O. Hawbaker, Inc., is the contractor for the $3.8 million project.