Zipper truck that moves barriers coming to Interstate Bridge

A big reminder from the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) that we’re just 11 days away from the northbound Interstate Bridge closure, from Sept. 12-20 when crews will replace aging parts on the lift span. ‘Zipper truck’ movable barrier coming to Interstate Bridge Click to expand UP NEXT While most […]

A big reminder from the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) that we’re just 11 days away from the northbound Interstate Bridge closure, from Sept. 12-20 when crews will replace aging parts on the lift span.

‘Zipper truck’ movable barrier coming to Interstate Bridge

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While most of that work is happening high above, a movable zipper merge barrier will be used on the southbound span to help keep traffic flowing.

When you hear zipper truck, do you envision a machine gliding along a freeway jersey barrier gracefully sliding it from one lane to the next? The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) used one last year near Castle Rock.

ODOT will use one this month to alter the traffic configuration on the southbound span of the Interstate Bridge.





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”We’ll have two lanes from Vancouver to Portland in the morning, -and then between noon and one- we’re going switch the lanes,” said Thor Alvarado with ODOT.

So, the afternoon commute will have two lanes headed north to Vancouver. And they’ll do the zipper again around 2 a.m. to prepare for the morning rush.

They’ll move 6,400 feet of barrier twice a day in just 20 minutes using the zipper truck, much like they do every day on San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge. They bought one just for this purpose in 2015.

“It’s fun to watch,” said Alvarado. “You’re watching all these barriers get picked up and switched over. And if you’re in the traffic that’s getting the second lane, it makes you even happier.”

While the zipper truck will make the transitions faster, ODOT has been warning drivers to change their commute habits because the delays could be severe.

A slogan widely used during a similar closure in 1997 was, go another way, Go another day, or just don’t go. You’ve been warned. The northbound closure will last eight days from Sept. 12 to 20. 

Chris McGinness is a meteorologist and transportation reporter for KGW. Got a story idea or a great photo you want to share? Email him at [email protected] or reach out on Facebook , Twitter and Instagram

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