Rumble strips disappearing - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Rumble strips disappearing

ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) --

Road construction season is upon us and you can start saying goodbye to certain types of rumble strips. Mn/DOT is paving over transverse rumble strips, the ones that alert you to an on-coming stop sign.

Despite the jolt you may get when you drive over these strips, Mn/DOT says they're not effective at preventing intersection crashes. So, out with the old and in with the new.

Tragedy can strike when you least expect it. That moment came for six unsuspecting passengers in a minivan during Memorial day weekend 2009. A drunk driver, asleep at the wheel, blew through the stop sign and t-boned the minivan at full force. Only one person in that minivan survived.

There are transverse rumble strips on Highway 30, the road the drunk driver was on before crossing highway 63.

"The advance warning probably didn't even phase him," exclaims Mn/DOT's Kristine Hernandez.

The Minnesota department of Transportation says its studies show the type of rumble strips that alert drivers to an oncoming stop sign don't work like expected.

"We can't engineer drunk drivers off the road, that's for law enforcement to do," say Hernandez.

While the average driver may get a jolt, it's the inattentive or drunk driver that Mn/DOT wants to wake up.

"Where we have put the traverse rumble strips, so the advance warning to a stop sign, the crash rate stays the same. So from an engineering and traffic safety perspective, we're better off putting our money elsewhere," explains Hernandez.

What is working are the rumble strips down the center line and on the edges of highways. Mn/DOT is also investing dollars in other types of advance warnings.

"So that people see it here and there's also an advance warning sign over there."

It's the latest attempt to make sure accidents like these don't happen again.

The transverse rumble strips on Highways 30 and 63 are not slated to be smoothed over until 2013. Hernandez says that intersection has only seen 10 crashes in the last 3 years, a relatively low number.

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