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Rumble strips create buzz
A road sign on Route 101 in Epping warns drivers of rumble strips on the shoulder of the highway. (JASON SCHREIBER/Union Leader Correspondent)
The strips of grooved pavement produce a vibrating noise that may annoy some, but state and local officials say they’ve become an effective, low-cost road safety feature since first being installed on Interstate 89 from Bow to Lebanon in 1997.
A public informational meeting was held Tuesday in Epping; another will be held in Plaistow on Aug. 28 at 7 p.m. at Plaistow Town Hall to discuss the proposal to add center line and shoulder rumble strips on sections of Route 125.
“Why and where are they putting the rumble strips as Route 125 through Plaistow is very built-up and congested, so why (and) where do they need them?” she said.
According to Grandmaison, national statistics show center-line rumble strips on rural two-lane roads reduce by 44 percent fatal head-on and other crashes resulting in injury. Centerline rumble strips on urban two-lane roads reduce crashes by 64 percent, according to his figures. Rumble strips on the shoulders of rural two-lane roads lowered crashes by 36 percent, he said.
“From my perspective they’re a good thing. While I recognize there could be a potential downside to them, the bottom line is, if you hit it, you’re in a place you’re not supposed to be,” said State Police Lt. Chris Vetter of Troop A in Epping.
The locations are chosen based on several criteria, including crash statistics, traffic volume and speed.
The strips on roadway shoulders can pose problems for bicyclists, but they may be happy with the state’s plan to place the strips directly over the white line as part of a pilot project on Route 111 from Hudson to Hampstead. The strips are usually placed 30 inches off the white line.
Rumble strips also create the potential for noise for residents living near the highway, but officials said they’re more concerned with safety.
Grandmaison acknowledged the possibility of a rumble strip contributing to an accident by startling a driver, but he said he hasn’t heard of such an experience.
“It’s the typical knee-jerk reaction when it happens. You jerk the wheel,” he said.
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