Road Zipper Increases Lane Usage During Bridge Repair

A recently completed project in Milwaukee, Wisconsin is a good example of how the Road Zipper System® can effectively mitigate traffic congestion during bridge repair projects.

When planning the $278 million I-794 Freeway project, it was determined that the Daniel Hoan bridge required major construction to ensure its future structural integrity. The scope of work included repairing steel joints, welding retrofits, strengthening the existing floor system and replacing the deteriorating bridge deck.

Officials with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation decided that the most efficient way to retrofit the bridge was to close one side completely and move all traffic to three lanes on the other side.

“Although there was room for four lanes on that side of the bridge, it was decided to only use three in order to ensure the safety of motorists and allow for snow storage and the delivery of construction materials,” said Laura Huizinga, Regional Manager at Lindsay Transportation Solutions. “Once that decision was made, officials had to address the traffic congestion problems that would result from the more than 40,000 vehicles routed through those three lanes each day. 

Installing traditional construction barriers would leave motorists stuck in a 2/1 traffic pattern for the duration of the two-year project. So, the WisDOT instead opted for The Road Zipper System – which added the equivalent of a fourth lane without any additional construction.

“With the moveable barriers, the lanes are quickly and easily reconfigured so that there are two lanes into the city during the morning commute and two lanes leaving the city during the evening drive to the suburbs,” said Huizinga. “The barriers also provided the space needed for workers to safely complete the project on time and on budget.”

After completing construction on the southbound side of the bridge, the barrier and traffic were switched over so that construction could begin on the northbound side. The entire project was completed in late 2015, with a new bridge deck that should last for the next 40-50 years.