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State DOT Rolling Out $60K Centerline Rumble Strips

The rumble strips will be installed on four state-owned roadways as part of a pilot program ConnDOT is launching.

Photo Credit: Patch File Photo
Photo Credit: Patch File Photo
In an effort to reduce head-on and sideswipe crashes, the Connecticut Department of Transportation is installing 11 miles of centerline rumble strips on four state roadways this month. 

Locations include sections of Route 6 in Hampton and Brooklyn, Route 12 in Groton and Ledyard, Route 34 in Derby, and Route 202 in Litchfield, according to a Connecticut Department of Transportation April 9 press release. Installation is slated for mid to late April. 

The project will cost $60,000, with 80 percent covered by federal safety dollars and 20 percent paid by the state, said Kevin Nursick, spokesman for the Connecticut DOT. 

Although roadways weren’t selected considering crash patterns, for centerline rumble strips to be installed they must meet certain criteria: All roadways have a speed limit of 45 MPH or greater, traffic volume consists of at least 2,000 vehicles per day, and pavement has been resurfaced within the last three years, among other requirements. 

“We’re not doing this as a knee-jerk reaction,” Nursick said. “We’re trying to be proactive and get out there ahead of time with some countermeasures to prevent fatal or serious crashes from occurring.” 

Each year, head-on and sideswipe opposite-direction crashes cause about 30 deaths and 1,000 injuries in Connecticut. Crossover crashes on high-speed rural state roads result in the most catastrophic injuries and fatalities because of the high closure speeds between vehicles traveling in different directions, Nursick said. If two vehicles going at 45 MPH collide head-on, “It’s like hitting a cement wall at 90 MPH." 

From a driver's perspective, they're some of the hardest crashes to prevent because they often occur when drivers are drowsy or distracted and veer outside their lane into oncoming traffic. 

Centerline rumble strips have been shown to be effective because they alert the driver in two ways: with the rumbling sound and a physical vibration in the steering wheel and in the car. They can also help drivers know where their lane begins and ends while commuting in rain or snow.

A 2009 study by the National Cooperative Highway Research Program found that fatal and injury head-on and sideswipe opposite-direction crashes in rural areas were reduced by an average of 44 percent after the installation of centerline rumble strips, according to the release. 

Connecticut is the last state in New England to install centerline rumble strips. Thirty U.S. states total have them on their roadways. 

For the next year, the DOT plans to review the efficacy of these strips in reducing crossover-type crashes. 

“We don't have any preconceived notions, but the info out there proves they will be effective,” Nursick said. “If they are, we'll be rolling them out elsewhere in the state."

Robby April 11, 2014 at 05:00 PM
This is a great idea. I have seen these in Northern Michigan and they really work! And they are cut into the pavement so they aren't affected by snow plows at all, as Paul Alexander suggests. We all at one time or another have drifted across the center line - these things grab your attention immediately when you do that. I have also seen them at the outside of the lanes, so that you won't drift off of the road.
Igor April 11, 2014 at 06:07 PM
Maybe they should have better drivers. After they do this, what next? It's not the road it's the drivers. It's the drivers that need to be fixed.
Robby April 13, 2014 at 11:42 AM
Clearly Igor, you consider yourself to be a better driver, and I don't doubt that. However, I'm willing to bet that the people you are referring to also believe themselves to be better drivers! I was driving on I95 between Mystic and New London yesterday and noticed the rumble strips on the sides of the road. Next time you're driving on I95 and it is safe, try them out. Now consider that you are on a two lane road, and one of those drivers that need fixing is coming towards you in the other lane, while texting on his phone. Would you rather have a rumble strip between the lanes or not? While a lot of drivers need fixing, in reality, it can't be done without every other car on the road being a cop. So you sometimes have to go with practical solutions to problems - ones that aren't dependent on the human brain (or lack thereof)!
Daniella Ruiz April 13, 2014 at 01:44 PM
igor >> there are no 75MPH signs posted in this state as far as i know, but many people seem to imagine they see them though. __these rumble strips exist in many places in CT already. most are gouged into the right side of the slow travel lanes of Interstate 95/ I-91 and other major stretches, to alert sleepy drivers they are drifting off the road. doesn't prevent the drunks from weaving into other's either. i think the cell phones with GPS could alert drivers when they exceed speed limits or start going the wrong way on an entrance VS exit ramp. there's plenty of obvious 'apps' that can be made to compensate for many of those idiots and their mindless activities.
Igor April 13, 2014 at 03:44 PM
No Robby I'm just your average driver. I do consider myself a courteous driver. Actually I'm sure that I've been cursed at more than once for going the speed limit. I'm not saying it won't help. Obviously any little bit will help. 44% is pretty high. I think it might be inflated a bit. Of course the government wouldn't do that by design, but accidents with figures happen. This is suppose to alert a drowsy driver. Wouldn't it be better not to drive when you're drowsy? Or not to talk on the phone and drive. How many times have you been cut off by someone talking on the phone? What it comes down to, unless you are on the road by yourself with bumpers on both sides there are going to be accidents.

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