WisDOT calling for 'zipper merge' at long-term lane closure on I-43

NOW: WisDOT calling for ’zipper merge’ at long-term lane closure on I-43

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Now that the Ryder Cup has finished, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) is making a series of improvements along I-43 leading to lane closures.

"We do schedule the best we can around special events, or big events that go on," WisDOT spokesperson Michael Pyritz said.

The right northbound lane of I-43 will be closed from Capitol Drive to Silver Spring Road through the end of 2021.

WisDOT is calling for drivers to use the "zipper method" to get through the construction zone.

"When you get to the lane drop, there will be notifications saying, 'Merge Here,'" Pyritz said. "So when you see that sign, you know, take turns. Just like when you learned in kindergarten really. You know, take turns. Car on the left goes forward, car on the right merges in. Next car forward. Just like it is with a zipper."

Pyritz said expect detours near the construction zone to take longer than your normal commute.

"We just followed Google Maps, and it took us through all these local streets," driver Michael Lam said. "And there was like a bunch of red lights."

WisDOT said the lane closure is necessary for a larger project that will replace or renovate a series of bridges along I-43.

"A lot of the work that's associated with that is preparing for more involved work in the coming years. So it's a lot of the prep work that's taking place."

Nearby business owners say they worry the construction could impact their bottom line.

"Our concerns right now are, is it going to be taking away business, or are we going to be okay? Or are we going to get more business from the highway situation?" Solly's owner Glen Fieber said. "It just started, so we don't know yet."

The full project is expected to last into 2023. WisDOT said drivers can expect similar lane closures until the project is completed.

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