Businesses and WisDOT walk a fine line together. The contractor seeks to reduce traffic on the highway under construction so work can be completed efficiently, quickly and safely. At the same time, business owners and operators want to maintain a steady traffic stream so customers and employees can reach their destinations as easily as possible.
When four lanes are reduced to two lanes, or when two lanes are narrowed to one lane, it becomes essential to reduce traffic by a significant amount. Even when the highway capacity has been cut in half, diverting 10 to 20 percent of the traffic flow to other routes can keep the traffic stream workable for both drivers and the contractor. That permits the remaining 80 to 90 percent of traffic to flow through the work zone at a reasonable speed and allows drivers to reach businesses, industries and residents along the route.
Traffic is like an overflowing river - it takes the path of least resistance. It may follow a marked detour route. But most local traffic spills onto nearby streets and roads with which drivers are familiar, each driver finding his or her own special way to circumvent construction.
When the highway is being reconstructed "under traffic," WisDOT suggests drivers use alternate routes.
The following is a checklist of ways in which business can help reduce traffic backups during construction:
- Tell customers and employees about traffic restrictions. Distribute brochures, flyers and paycheck stuffers. Inserts with regular customer billings can also be very effective.
- Help your suppliers and their truck drivers identify alternate routes to your business or industry. Do this before construction begins.
- Schedule shipments at non-peak travel times and consider routes that enable your outgoing vehicles to avoid the work zone.
- Encourage your employees to use alternate transportation.
- Establish a company-sponsored carpool or vanpool program, or encourage employees to use existing programs.
- Look into starting a company shuttle to take employees to and from park and ride lots at locations outside the construction area.
- Investigate flextime or four-day work weeks that reduce employee travel during rush hours from 7 to 9 a.m. and 3 to 6 p.m. weekdays.
- Consider telecommuting or other strategies that allow employees to work at home.