They're irritating to many, but there's no second-guessing the safety benefits to rumble strips; in recent years, the Minnesota Department of Transportation has installed the strips (sometimes called "mumble strips") to a wide variety of area highways as part of their general improvement program.

As part of the current road construction project on Highway 169 from Taconite to Pengilly, the state transportation agency has decided to install the rumble strips to the centerline.  According to details released by the Minnesota Department of Transportation, that particular stretch of highway saw two fatal accidents within the past 12 months; both fatalities were caused by vehicles crossing the centerline.  The installation of the rumble strips is anticipated to add additional safety efforts to Highway 169.

While many drivers have encountered the rumble strips along the shoulder of roads, centerline markings are less common.  But, they can be efficient.  MNDOT offers:

"The intended purpose of a rumble strip is to alert drivers with both audible ad tactile warnings that they are approaching centerline and therefore opposing traffic. While traditional rumble strips have accomplished this task, they have proven to be undesirable for adjacent landowners. Sinusoidal, or mumble, strips produce lower noise levels when vehicles pass over them."

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As workers install the rumble strips, MNDOT cautions drivers to be alert to the active work zone that exists on Highway 169.  Here are some safety considerations:

  • Stay alert
  • Be aware of constantly changing work zone situations
  • Slow down
  • Navigate with caution
  • Watch for workers and slow moving equipment
  • Obey posted speed limits; remember - fine for a work zone violation is $300
  • Minimize distractions
  • Be patient
  • Expect delays

For more details about he rumble strips and the Highway 169 project on the Iron Range, click here.  Additional details are available on the Minnesota Department of Transportations website - along with up to date information about all of the road construction projects coordinate by the state agency.

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