What are Road Zipper Operations?
Road zipper machines can be used by road authorities experiencing heavy peak period directional traffic as part of contraflow lane activities to control traffic and improve worker safety. Contraflow designs typically require the use of a barrier-moving machine to borrow an off-peak direction lane. An additional peak direction lane is created using a moveable concrete barrier separating the contraflow lane from opposing flows of traffic. Contraflow lanes, often referred to as zipper lanes, implementation is only possible when there is unused off-peak direction capacity. Road zipper machines can also be deployed by agencies during road construction allowing for lane closures during off-peak hours to create a safe work zone. Road zipper operations aim to improve traffic flow by quickly and efficiently changing lane configuration on a freeway. Barrier-moving machines create entrance and exit points for contraflow lanes while Versilis warning gates and signs are deployed upstream of the closure to alert motorists of the new configuration and to channelize vehicles into the new traffic pattern. Versilis traffic gates and signs allow the road zipper machine to shift the movable barrier to open a contraflow lane in the opposite direction. The system is then retracted to allow traffic to enter the zipper lane.
Contraflow Lanes Challenges
Agencies face several challenges as part of zipper lane operations, especially with non-automated systems:
- Safety concerns for workers during reconfiguration or lane closure process
- Confusion for motorists that are unfamiliar with contraflow operations
- Labor intensive and time consuming because of repetitive traffic control operations
Benefits of Automated Lane Closures for Road Zipper Operations?
The use of automated warning gates and signs in combination with movable barriers is used to create a safe and efficient contraflow operation. Road authorities operating contraflow lanes with road zipper machines use Versilis traffic gates and signs to:
- Reduce time required to setup and breakdown closures with fully automated operation
- Reduce traffic control costs and improve staff resources deployment during contraflow activities
- Create a safe environment for all road workers by reducing exposure
- Increase motorist compliance with highly visible gates and advance warning signage
Is your agency looking for solutions to improve the safety and efficiency of your zipper lane operations?
Versilis is proud to support road authorities in their efforts to enhance motorist and worker safety while improving the efficiency of contraflow activities using barrier-moving machines.
Learn how agencies across the United States have improved their contraflow lane operations in partnership with Versilis by visiting our project pages.