DOT to grind rumble strips into crash-prone rural roads

More than 500 miles of road to see $3.5 million in improvements

The Wisconsin Transportation Department, taking a cue from other states, will begin grinding rumble strips into crash-prone stretches of rural roads in the next two weeks.

Crews will put the strips, which make a familiar noise on Wisconsin’s interstates and divided highways, on more than 500 miles of rural roads.

Other states have already been doing it, and the strips are responsible for slashing run-off crashes by 29 percent and head-on or sideswipe incidents by 44 percent in those states, said Jerry Zogg of the DOT’s bureau of project development.

“I think we can all relate to having drifted off unintentionally onto that right shoulder, and have felt the rumble strips,” Zogg said. “That’s the whole idea — to alert drivers early enough to keep their vehicles on the roadway.”

The $3.5 million plan includes Highway 19 in Dane County, which will get center line rumble strips west of Interstate 39/90. Crews will grind center line and shoulder strips east of I-39/90, a map of scheduled projects indicates.

Highway 14 in northern Rock County will also get both kinds of strips, among about 25 other projects in southern Wisconsin.

The DOT will retrofit existing roads with the strips this month, but future repaving projects will likely include the upgrades from the outset, Zogg said.