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Rumble strips to enhance highway safety

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Shelly Birkelo
September 24, 2012

What it is: Contractors have milled rumble strips on three highways in Rock County to make them safer.

Work began Aug. 27 when rumble strips were added to the center line and shoulders of Highway 14 north of Evansville, center strips on Highway 14 from Janesville east to the Walworth County line, center strips on Highway 213 from Orfordville to Beloit and center strips on Highway 59 from Milton east to the Jefferson County line.

It's part of a statewide initiative to install rumble strips on more than 500 miles of rural, two-lane state highway segments that have a history of run-off-the-road crashes, according to a Wisconsin Department of Transportation news release.

The shoulder rumble strips help prevent single vehicle run-off-the-road crashes while the center line rumble strips aid in preventing head-on crashes, opposite direction sideswipe crashes and some crashes when a driver veers over the center line, the release said.

Rumble strips are ground in to the center line or shoulder of the road with a machine that has a drum with teeth on it that creates indentations in the pavement that alerts drivers with a noise and vibration when they drift out of their driving lane. That allows drivers to readjust their driving, said Jon Olinger, project engineer.

Rumble stripes, painted with reflective paint, increase a driver's visibility during inclement weather and "are similar to ones you see on the freeway," he said.

Work on the 21 segments and 121 miles of the southwest section of the project that included Rock County was completed Friday, and includes new signs informing drivers of rumble strips on the road ahead, Olinger said.

The Department of Transportation is overseeing the $3.5 million project. Work will be completed statewide this fall.

National research shows that adding shoulder rumble strips can reduce death or injury from single-vehicle highway run-off crashes by 29 percent while centerline strips reduce head-on and sideswipe crashes by 44 percent, according to the DOT.

"Rumble strips are a proven, cost-effective investment offering substantial returns in reducing traffic crashes, injuries and death," said Jerry Zogg, of the DOT's Bureau of Project Development.



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