New safety stripes in store for county roads – minus the rumbleCarlton County’s most-traveled roadways will soon have new, higher-visibility safety stripes. But, according to County Highway Engineer Wayne Olson, they won’t include the controversial “rumble stripes” that have residents up in arms in parts of nearby St. Louis County.
By: Wendy Johnson, Pine Journal
Carlton County’s most-traveled roadways will soon have new, higher-visibility safety stripes. But, according to County Highway Engineer Wayne Olson, they won’t include the controversial “rumble stripes” that have residents up in arms in parts of nearby St. Louis County.
Olson explained the county’s road striping program will expand the width of the fog line along the outer part of the traffic lane from four to six inches.
“Research has shown that wider stripes give drivers, especially older ones, added visibility to help keep them on the road,” said Olson.
Olson requested authorization to proceed with bidding out the striping project at the Monday meeting of the Carlton County Board.
Commissioners questioned if the proposed striping project would include “rumble stripes,” a textured surface integrated into the fog line as part of a national effort to prevent run-off-the-road accidents. St. Louis County recently cut 81 miles of new rumble stripes into several county highways, and now residents are objecting to the sound they create, claiming it’s disrupting their sleep and solitude.
Olson assured commissioners that “rumble stripes” are not a part of the Carlton County plan, which is a four-county initiative that will include a total of 241 miles of roadway. He added that 100 percent of the cost will be funded through federal sources.
“Federal legislation requires that the money be spent on safety measures that are proactive in order to prevent accidents and save lives,” explained Olson. “There are not a lot of low-cost, high return measures that fit into that category, but we feel that this is one of them.”
He explained that Carlton, Aitkin, Koochiching and Pine counties are participating in the initiative, which has been in the planning stages since last year.
Locally, the epoxy striping will be applied to all county highways with an average daily traffic load of 1,000 vehicles or more. Olson explained that will include part or all of county roads 1, 2 (North Cloquet Road), 3, 7 (Big Lake Road), 10 (south of Moose Lake), 24 (Halverson Road), 45 and 61. In all, he said some 93 miles of roadway in the county will be improved with the higher visibility striping.
Olson said after the bids for the project are let, each participating county will work with the striping contractor on an individual basis “to get the best bang for their buck,” he said.
The striping should get under way in Carlton County early next spring.
Duluth News Tribune reporter John Myers contributed to this story.