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Monday, October 24, 2011
Jenenne Ring WSDOT Traffic Engineer 509-667-3080 (Wenatchee)
Lt. Kandi Patrick WSP Field Operations 509-682-8103 (Wenatchee
CHELAN FALLS – In early June another crossover head-on collision, a double fatality killing both drivers, prompted the State Patrol to request the Department of Transportation to install centerline rumble strips on US 97 south of the Beebe Bridge.
The result is a $34,000, 8.5 mile "Emergent Enhancement" project set to start Tuesday Nov. 1. The new rumble strip installation is scheduled to take only two days.
"This is exactly the kind of project the legislature set aside these funds to address," said WSDOT traffic engineer, Jennene Ring. "The request came to us in mid-July and was approved, designed and put out for private contractor bids in early September."
Next week, Northstar Enterprises Inc. crews from Spokane will begin cutting the new strips and installing new reflective recessed pavement markers between mileposts 227 and 235, south of the Beebe Bridge across the Columbia River from Chelan Falls.
From 2006 through 2010, this part of US 97 saw 15 crossover wrecks, including two of four fatal collisions.
"It is gratifying that even when budgets are tight, the safety of our citizens is still top priority" said WSP Lt. Kandi Patrick, adding that she was pleased with how receptive WSDOT was to the suggestion of rumble strips that came from one of her sergeants.
"I appreciate the continuing partnership between WSP and WSDOT in projects that can save lives," she said.
Centerline rumble strips are cost-effective and they reduce crossover collisions. That "rumble", however, can be annoying for those who live nearby. The new design utilizes a shallower groove to reduce the noise.
"While the primary goal is to reduce the crossover collisions, this design may help reduce ambient noise," Ring said. National research suggests this design still sufficiently alerts drivers that they're crossing the centerline. "We'll evaluate the new design by monitoring both the sound levels and the behavior of the traffic through the test zone," she said.
US 97 is a major freight route from Canada to Mexico. In this northern part of Douglas County, the highway carries an average of 4,300 vehicles per day at a posted speed of 60 mph.
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