Rumble Strips: Nuisance or Necessary?

Local News

The Brown County Board of Supervisors met with an item on the agenda – rumble strips.

Should the strips be replaced at high-traffic intersections where they had previously been removed?

Rumble strips were indented into highway intersection G and Z until the road was resurfaced in 2015.

“I lived through the 1987 accident when a woman was killed on her way to Friday night fish fry at what is now DeGraves,” says Jenny Wasmuth. “The car was traveling to the east, that’s why the strips were put there.”

Recent fatalities, including one at highways G and Z near Way-Morr park has led pubic works to re-evaluate creating a plan to put more rumble strips at potentially dangerous intersections.

“I think we have choices here that we can make that don’t cause the dramatic impact that this will impose on those land owners that are around the rumble strips,” says board member Steve Deslauriers.

But how much ruckus do they really cause?

“I lived there for 45 years, initially when I lived there the rumble strips weren’t there and they resurfaced the road,” says Bruce Krahn. “They put the rumble strips and I couldn’t tell you how many years we lived through them. They were never a problem for us.”

And the highway commission does not lack research on safety alternatives.

“There’s other things we can do, we can put up another stop sign on the left side of the road,” says Paul Fontecchio, the Brown county highway commissioner. “But unless you have that physical and audible noise that you hit with the rumble strip…I don’t know, it’s probably the best way to get people’s attention to alert the driver that maybe isn’t 100 percent paying attention that there is a stop condition coming up.”

The county’s safety research shows rumble strips can reduce fatal accidents by 39 percent.

A 39 percent chance we can all get home safely.

“We’ve got a look at things differently, we have to look at that as not a nuisance noise on our roads,” says Fontecchio. “That’s the sound of potentially a life being saved and that’s how we have to look at this thing.”

One alternative suggested by a board member was to place a round-a-bout at intersections that have proven to be deadly like highway G and Z.

Public Works said a round-a-bout would cost about $750,000 to build.

The cost of rumble strips – about two-three thousand dollars.

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