Grumble Strip Update

This is taken from 2 emails sent to the CRBC list serve on 2/21/2011 and 3/3/2011 sent by Chuck A.

3/3/2011 Email

Yesterday Paul Rito, a planner from COG, and I had a conference call with PennDOT. PennDOT briefed us on the time-line and proposed method for repairing the improperly installed rumble strips. We had serious safety concerns about PennDOT’s first repair proposal, so they came up with a new proposal which is much better. Here are the details:

Routes to be fixed this year
PennDOT will repair affected portions of state bike routes G and V this season. Places where 4’ of paving extends outside of the rumble strips will not be changed since they are in accordance with PennDOT standards for edge line rumble strips. PennDOT asked which sections are the highest priority, and we said 192 and 45 since they get the greatest bike use. PennDOT has created a map of the areas to be repaired which we have posted on the CRBC website at Rumble Strip Map. PennDOT is also preparing a map of all rumble strips in our area and that map will also be posted to the CRBC website when we get it from PennDOT. Roads not part of state route G&V will not be repaired this year.

Repair method
1) Rumble strips will be removed by milling a 2 foot wide by 1.5-2 inch deep groove in the asphalt
2) Groove will be filled with a fine-grained asphalt and rolled to match the height of the surrounding pavement
3) Seam between new and old asphalt will be sealed to prevent water intrusion

1) Road paving season in these parts starts in the summer
2) The repairs will be put out to bid in May-June and a contractor will be hired to do the work
3) We should start seeing action on the road by mid-summer and the work will be completed by the end of October.
4) Special previsions will be put in  the contract putting first priority on the 192 and 45 sections so they are completed first.
4) We will receive updates, including heads up on when road work will be effecting roads, as the process moves forward

No doubt many of you find the timing of this plan unsatisfactory.  It certainly does not fit with the time estimate given to us last fall, but that estimate was not realistic. The magnitude of the problem from a financial and technical standpoint is as great as it is for us riding the roads. The repair as proposed will make up a significant portion of this year’s maintenance budget for our area.  I think we are looking at a significant response from PennDOT on the issue, not a best case scenario, but there are precious few of those these days when state government finances are involved.

Ride well,


Hi everyone,

On Feb 10 Paul Rito and I met with PennDOT, along with
Pete F., Safety Enginner and Ryan’s boss, Eric B., a District 2 traffic
Engineer, and Brian Sanders, PennDOT’s statewide Bicycle/Pedestrian
Coordinator. Trish M. from COG was also there to help Paul and I interpret
the lingo and understand how things fit into our local area. Most of the
meeting was spent talking about PennDOT’s approach to bikes in their
planning process and how CRBC can be more involved in future planning so
problems like the rumble strips do not happen again. There is good news to
report on both these fronts, but I will save it for another email. We also
talked specifically about the rumble strips. Here is a summary of what we

1) The rumble strips were part of a nation-wide Federal Highway
Administration program specifically funded to install center and edge line
rumble strips.

2) There are no additional rumble strips scheduled to be installed in our

3) PennDOT’s design standard for rumble strips includes only installing them
on roads with a history of head-on and/or run-off collisions, and where a
minimum of 4′ of pavement will exist outside of the rumble strips after

4) As we know, there was a catastrophic breakdown between PennDOT’s design
standard and what was done to our area roads.

5) PennDOT acknowledges they screwed up and want to fix the problem, but
here is where things get complicated…

6) Fixing the problem requires repaving the whole road, or grinding down
enough of the road’s edge to make room for a new layer of asphalt that will
be stable and not make matters worse. Neither of these options is cheap and

7) The Federal funding used to install the rumble strips can not be used to
fix the problem, and state and federal budget woes mean there is not a lot
of discretionary money floating around to pay for the repairs.

8) PennDOT’s current plan is to not reinstall the rumbles strips when the
roads are resurfaced as part of the normal repaving schedule. Not a
satisfactory resolution to the issue, but it is a starting point and better
than no plan at all.

9) Trish M. is advocating that PennDOT find a better solution that will
get things fixed sooner. PennDOT is reviewing the issue and we hope to hear
back soon.

Paul and I were holding off on reporting all this to the list until after we
learned the results of Trish’s efforts, but wanted to bring you up to speed
now after the recent flurry of email concerning the rumble strips. We will
pass along additional information as soon as we receive it. Hopefully in the
coming week.

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