Folks in Alton seem to think the message to them from the state Deptartment of Transportation is one of “it’s my way AND the highway.” Only in this case, the highway is Route 28 through their town, not a major road.
The issue is rumble strips, which the state installed in 2016 but then partially removed under political pressure from Concord, namely from then-state Sen. Jeannie Forrester. But Forrester has left the building and the Republicans have lost control of the Legislature, leaving senators like Jeb Bradley and James Gray looking a bit like hitchhikers, not drivers.
The DOT position is that rumble strips, which cause vibration and noise, save lives. They have the statistics to prove it — a 44% decrease in head-on-crashes on rural roads with center-line rumble strips and a 36% decline where rumble strips are placed along the road shoulder.
Very impressive, but those are national figures. Here is one statistic we haven’t seen: What was the head-on crash count before the strips were installed along this eight-mile stretch of Route 28?
What was it while the strips were there? And what has it been since the shoulder strips were removed while the center ones remain?
The state wants to reinstall the shoulder strips as part of repaving to be completed next year. Residents would rather the state remove the noisy strips altogether and let them have some sleep.
Why not maintain the status quo and revisit the issue in another two years? More statistics might help.