Would the Golden Gate’s ‘Road Zipper’ make Seattle’s Aurora Bridge safer?


By Mike Lindblom
June 19, 2018
Twitter @mikelindblom

The lack of a barrier separating oncoming traffic on the Aurora Bridge is being pointed out in the multiple lawsuits stemming from the 2015 Ride the Ducks crash that killed five people and injured 71 others.

A center barrier could be installed within a few months to prevent crossover crashes on the Aurora Bridge, if the city of Seattle and the state of Washington ever choose to do so.

Such a divider might offer a safer or less-stressful trip for the 70,000 drivers and 28,000 bus riders a day who zip across the bridge, whose speed limit is 40 mph, in lanes separated by only a double yellow line.

Installing a permanent concrete barrier would reduce the span’s six lanes to a five- or four-lane passage. For a few million dollars more, agencies could buy a movable Road Zipper barrier and lift truck, so crews could alter the lane patterns to match traffic demand, as is done on the Golden Gate Bridge.

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“The barrier could be ready in five months, and the machines anywhere from six to eight months,” said Chris Sanders, senior vice president for the Lindsay Transportation Solutions barrier division in Rio Vista, California, which has supplied 26 corridors worldwide with dividers that are moved daily.