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MDOT Tries New Approach To Construction Merges

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CROCKERY TWP. (WWJ/AP) - The Michigan Department of Transportation has adopted a new approach to cut down on late-merging motorists in a West Michigan construction zone. Officials are studying how well it works there and may try using the approach elsewhere.

“Do Not Pass When Flashing” signs require motorists on eastbound I-96 in Ottawa County’s Crockery Township to merge into a single lane well before a lane is closed for the state Route 231 construction zone.

When activated, the signs create a no passing zone ahead of the section of road where there’s one lane open in each direction. MDOT said the so-called dynamic merge lanes are being used to head off the possibility of aggressive driving and late merges.

“It’s all about safety,” said John Richard, a spokesman for MDOT in Grand Rapids.

According to state police, drivers who don’t merge ahead of the “Do Not Pass” signs when they are flashing could face a ticket.

MDOT began using dynamic merge lanes in some work zones a few years ago and research is evaluating the effectiveness of such lanes. The I-96 project runs until November, and MDOT will be able to further evaluate the merge lanes.

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