MILWAUKEE -- The "Zipper Merge" is now gone. On Sunday morning, November 15th some drivers felt at ease as they drove along I-94 WB -- but that doesn't mean the area is construction free.
For months, some drivers felt a bit frustrated by the "Zipper Merge."
The "Zipper Merge" was used by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation on I-94 to merge traffic into a reduced number of lanes.
Drivers in merging lanes were expected to use both lanes to advance to the lane reduction point -- and then merge at that point -- alternating turns.
"Everybody stays in the closing lane and it slows everybody down," one driver said of the "Zipper Merge."
"It`s a little rough. I think it`s probably slower," another driver said.
As of Sunday morning, the Zipper Merge was no more -- something that pleased some drivers.
"Better! It`s clearer. Not so much congestion," Laron Pointer said.
Pointer says he's felt the squeeze on I-94 every day for months.
"To and from work, picking up the kids from school, stuff like that -- and it gets a little busy over there," Pointer said.
On Sunday morning, Pointer said he felt like he could breathe.
"It`s almost like, free flowing now," Pointer said.
There's been congestion along Milwaukee's east-west artery since construction got underway in December 2014.
But overnight on Saturday and into Sunday, crews took down barricades and returned I-94 WB to three lanes.
"It`s been a great day. We`re ahead of schedule," Mark Klipstein, Wisconsin DOT project manager for the Zoo Interchange Project said.
Originally scheduled to last another four weeks, the warm weather has helped to move construction along quickly, and open the "Zipper Merge" area early.
"With the good weather we`ve had, we`ve been able to do a lot of stage changes through the fall and get to a point today where we actually removed the Zipper Merge," Klipstein said.
It is a milestone moment for the nearly $2 billion Zoo Interchange Project.
"We`re in great shape today to continue to deliver on time," Klipstein said.
The Zoo Interchange Project is set to be completed in 2018 -- and that means, while the Zipper Merge is gone, there are still more closures ahead.
CLICK HERE to access the "Wisconsin Zoo Interchange Project" on Facebook -- for the latest closure information.
CLICK HERE to learn more about the Zoo Interchange Project.