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Introducing...The Zipper Truck

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#1 M.E.

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Posted 25 June 2012 - 03:22 PM


The current traffic separators on the GG Bridge are a series of  19-inch-tall yellow rubber tubes, hand-placed by Caltrans workers every  25 feet along the span. Now, as anyone that has plowed through a traffic  cone can tell you, they don't do much to impede any vehicle bigger than  a moped. That's why, following a rash of head-on crashes in 1996, the  Golden Gate Bridge Authority began designing a Jersey Barrier system to  protect the opposite-bound lanes of Highway 1.

The barrier blocks themselves measure 32 inches tall, a foot wide,  weigh close to 1,500 pounds apiece, and connect to form an uninterrupted  13,340-foot long concrete barrier. Depending on traffic  conditions—southbound lanes are clogged for the AM commute, northbound  lanes in the evening—Caltrans will rely on a tool known as a Zipper  Truck to pick up and move the barrier between lanes, easing congestion.  This process is actually easier said than done.


#2 Captain Jack

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Posted 06 July 2012 - 03:28 AM

Pretty cool and an efficient way of "adding" lanes for rush-hour traffic by "subtracting" lanes from the side that's not busy. This is common on the Golden Gate Bridge. South bound lanes are heavy in the morning with commuters coming into downtown SF and then the north bound lanes are heavy in the evening with those same commuters going home.
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#3 M.E.

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Posted 06 July 2012 - 08:23 AM

I know of two places where I live that the lanes change like that at rush hour.  There is probably more than that, but I am not familiar with their locations.  They are marked by a simple "X" light that hangs above the lane like a regular traffic light.  

I don't like it.  I find it to be a little intimidating because they are both located on steep hills and there are blind spots, near bends in the road.  That "X" can be easily missed by drivers and cause head on collisions.  I would much rather have the temporary divider in place, like the zipper does.  Although, I am not sure that the roads I speak of are wide enough for dividers.


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