Date of Award

Summer 2007

Document Type

Thesis - Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Civil and Environmental Engineering

First Advisor

Drakopoulos, Alexander

Second Advisor

Sonntag, Ronald C.

Third Advisor

Coakley, Richard


Around the country, work zone activity is increasing. Many freeways are approaching the end of their useful life and are in need of repairs or reconstruction. Construction and maintenance activities at work zones form bottlenecks with significantly reduced capacity. Moreover, work zone activities have safety, economy, mobility, and many other implications. This study intends to provide a more precise understanding of traffic operations at work zone locations based on two long-term urban freeway work zone locations in Milwaukee, Wisconsin that experienced significant demand throughout daytime hours. Traffic performance throughout the work zone period, bottleneck capacity, factors influencing capacity and queuing behavior are topics examined in detail in this study. The main objective is to evaluate work zone capacity and identify its relation with geometric design and traffic management factors. The study found that different capacity values (sustained maximum flows) may be observed at the same work zone location. A morning traffic flow "spike," queue discharge conditions during non-peaking hours, weekdays, and weekends yielded different work zone capacities. Many work zone capacity definitions are currently in use, each with its own assumptions, field-observed and theoretical values, thus, it is very important to state which definition is being used when designing a work zone configuration. The interactive behavior between two successive work zones was addressed. Finally, queuing behavior and the effects of various traffic characteristics and roadway configuration factors on work zone capacity were also analyzed and discussed. Conclusions, recommendations, and :future proposed research topics are provided at the end of the thesis.



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