VTrans: Lessons learned from rumblestrip fiasco - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

VTrans: Lessons learned from rumblestrip fiasco

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Road construction is anything but quiet, but Jennifer Sweet wasn't complaining when she woke up Monday morning. "I was very happy. Very happy, like oh yes - finally!" she said.

The Cambridge resident has been fighting to get the crews to come back to Route 104 since last year, when the state installed a rumble strip down the center of a two mile stretch.

"I sent a letter to the governor and said, 'Put a buzz saw, a corn chopper and a fog horn together and add the echo effect and that's what we're experiencing here,'" Sweet said. Her petition last year got nearly 100 signatures -- and even more people waiting to sign a new one if the state did not take action.

The strips are supposed to make the road safer. The rumbly noise when you go over is designed to wake up drowsy drivers to keep them from drifting into oncoming traffic. And it was noisy. State transportation officials announced about a month after Sweet first spoke out last year, that crews used a wrong piece of equipment during construction, creating deeper grooves than planned. And it hired a new crew to try to turn down the volume by filling some in. It didn't work. New sound tests this summer found it was just too loud. Now the state admits it was a mistake -- and the strip is history. "We've paid a price for education -- that's for sure. It's unfortunate but that's what happened," said Richart Tetreault with Vtrans.

It's a mistake that cost taxpayers more than $100,000. Installation was $24,000. Attempts to fix the strip -- $42,000. And the current project also more than $40,000.

VTrans is expanding its use of centerline rumble strips. More than 80 miles of Vermont roads have them already, and officials say generally communities like them. "We are encouraged by the results we are getting across the state, so even though we had this one incident, we have learned from it and are ready to move on and get it right the next time and into the future," Tetreault said.

For residents along 104 in Cambridge -- they're looking forward to something else. "We cant wait for a good nights sleep," Sweet said.

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