WisDOT: Rumble strips to enhance safety on rural, two-lane state highways

For more information, contact:
(Rumble Strips) Jerry Zogg,
WisDOT Bureau of Project Development

(608) 266-3350

[email protected]

(Systemic improvements) Mark Morrison,
WisDOT Bureau of Traffic Operations

(608) 266-8442

[email protected]

Rumble strips to enhance safety on rural, two-lane state highways

Beginning this month, retrofit rumble strips will be installed on over 500 miles of rural state highway segments in Wisconsin with a history of run-off-the-road crashes

Stay in your lane or get ready to rumble! To help prevent highway run-off crashes and enhance overall public safety, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) will oversee installation of centerline and shoulder rumble strips this summer on over 500 miles of rural, two-lane state highway segments with a history of run-off-the-road crashes.

Currently, rumble strips are installed along Interstate highways and other divided highways, providing an audible and vibratory warning to motorists who drift from their travel lane. A growing number of states are now expanding the use of rumble strips to two-lane highway segments as a cost-effective strategy to help prevent traffic crashes. National research shows that adding shoulder rumble strips can reduce death or injury from single-vehicle highway run-off crashes by 29 percent, while center line rumbles reduce head-on and side-swipe crashes by 44 percent.

“Anyone who has ever momentarily drifted from an Interstate or freeway and safely returned to their travel lane may very well owe their life to a rumble strip,” said Jerry Zogg with WisDOT’s Bureau of Project Development. “Rumble strips are a proven, cost-effective investment offering substantial returns in reducing traffic crashes, injuries and deaths.”

Beginning in mid-August, WisDOT will oversee installation of retrofit rumble strips by grinding them into about 500 miles of centerline and about 50 miles of shoulder pavement along identified two-lane rural state highway segments. The work is expected to be completed this fall at an estimated cost of $3.5 million.

“In a typical year in Wisconsin, total economic costs associated with fatal, injury and property damage traffic crashes total around $2.5 billion,” Zogg said. “Rumble strips can help prevent crashes under any conditions, but can also guide drivers when snow, fog or rain make it a challenge to remain in the travel lane.”

WisDOT will also add shoulder and centerline rumbles as part of four highway improvement projects this year that involve widening pavement shoulders: WIS 66 in Wood and Portage counties; WIS 141 in Marinette County; WIS 11 in Walworth County; and WIS 35 in Polk County. More information on rumble strips can be found on the WisDOT web site at: www.dot.wisconsin.gov/safety/motorist/roaddesign/rumblestrips.

To reach the goal of zero preventable traffic deaths in Wisconsin (Zero in Wisconsin), WisDOT is also working this summer on a series of other roadway improvements, including: installing better wet weather and wider pavement markings; upgrading traffic signal equipment to enhance traffic flow; adding pedestrian countdown timers at traffic signals for pedestrian safety; providing upgraded and additional signage in certain areas; installing dynamic curve warning signs and chevrons; and, patching pavement to minimize debris and loose pavement that can impact motorcyclists, bicyclists and other travelers.