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Rumble, rumble: Is Rte. 125 plan a good idea?

August 17. 2013 9:18PM

With the State of New Hampshire clamoring for funds to complete the Interstate 93 expansion, and with motorists noticing plenty of problems with local roads, is it really a good idea to spend a half a million bucks a year on rumble strips?

Further, is it really a good idea to put these strips directly at the edge of a highway's lane rather than the two-and-one-half feet from the lane that is now the norm?

Union Leader Correspondent Jason Schreiber's report on a new plan for rumble strips was in our Friday Union Leader.

The plan is to install these strips on the center and the side of Route 125 all the way from Plaistow to Lee.

A state Department of Transporation manager says national statistics show that rumble strips reduce fatal crashes, apparently by alerting careless drivers that they are drifting out of their proper lane.

We wonder, though, how many of those drivers are drifting because they are either texting or talking on a cellphone?

"From my perspective, they're a good thing,'' said State Police Lt. Christ Vetter. "While I recognize there could be a potential downside to them, the bottomline is, if you hit it you're in a place you're not supposed to be."

And just what is that potential downside? said State Police Lt. Chris Vetter of Troop-A in Epping.

Vetter didn't say, but the state DOT manager acknowledged the possibility of a rumble strip contributing to an accident by startling a driver, although he said he hasn't heard of such an experience.

But Brentwood police Sgt. Denny Wood, who supports rumble strips, said he has seen crashes happen because a driver hit a strip, became startled, and then turned the wheel and caused the vehicle to roll.

"It's the typical knee-jerk reaction when it happens. You jerk the wheel," he said.

That reaction may happen a lot more often with the plan for the Route 125 strips to be placed right on the edge of the lane.

Public Safety Transportation Editorial

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