Beltline underwent initial construction, expansion and maintenance in the ’60s and ’70s before control was transferred to the state in 1978. The length of several Beltline on-ramp merge lanes has remained unchanged for the last 45 years. Long ago, highway engineers figured out the exact distance required for each on-ramp merge lane, some fit for traffic at the time, some with plenty of space to support future city and traffic volume growth. Many on-ramp merge lanes are now too short. And that is the case when used properly: During heavy traffic, you must travel in the merge lane until the very end of the merge lane, then, match speed with the traffic in your target lane, then zipper merge at the end of the merge lane, alternating cars. Many drivers merge far too early, halfway through the dashed line, or even crossing solid lines, before the dashed line starts.
We can start using this road correctly today. Please remember to use the whole lane, drive to the end of the merge lane, then zipper in, and we’ll all get to our destinations much more quickly and safely.