17 November 2015
Reduced crashes on Rt. 53 may be a real possibility with a new, simple, and comparatively low-cost solution: rumble strips.
Twisting its way through Fluvanna and Albemarle, Rt. 53 is the site of a large number of “road departure” accidents, or crashes in which vehicles run off the road, said Joel DeNunzio, residency administrator for the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT).
Installing edge line rumble strips down the entire length of Rt. 53 could save lives, said DeNunzio. “Edge line rumble strips are a very low-cost, high-benefit treatment to roads that have road departure issues resulting in that kind of crash,” he said. “If you’re driving distracted or having trouble with visibility, rumble strips help keep you on the road by providing an audible message.”
In some places, VDOT will need to build up the shoulder of the road in order to install the rumble strips. “We need a couple feet of shoulder to get the rumble strips in, and some sections of Rt. 53 have little to no shoulder outside the white line,” DeNunzio said. Adding shoulder is a safety improvement in and of itself. “Any time you can add shoulder you really increase the safety of that roadway by giving vehicles cushion for error. As it is right now, you may hit a ditch or a drop-off that is not recoverable,” he said.
Rumble strips are created when a machine cuts grooves into the asphalt, said DeNunzio.
The project does not include center line rumble strips, DeNunzio said. “We put in middle ones when we’re having head-on collision issues, but on Rt. 53 we’re having road departure issues,” he explained.