Drivers in Suffield have recently begun to encounter rumble strips on the centerlines of town roads. By mid-October, these traffic safety features had been installed in the eastern segment of Spruce Street, the southern-most 1.2-mile stretch of South Grand Street, and the entire length of Warnertown Road. All three are narrow roads with white shoulder lines and double yellow centerlines.
The rumble strips consist of a series of shallow, transverse depressions ground an inch or so into the pavement at intervals of about two feet. They are a bit shallower than the rumble strips next to the breakdown lane on many major highways.
The Connecticut Department of Transportation began a pilot program two years ago, putting such strips on the centerlines of four state routes in half a dozen towns scattered across Connecticut. Reportedly, Connecticut was the last state in the New York and New England area to try them. The intent of these rumble strips is to keep drivers from crossing the centerline and reduce the frequency of head-on collisions or side-swipes.
More recently Conn DOT extended offers to install the strips on town roads, and Suffield has accepted the offer. At press time, it was expected that several more roads would soon be treated in addition to those mentioned above. The installation process includes repainting the yellow centerline marking.
Some critics have worried about the possible deleterious consequences, suggesting that water in the shallow depressions will seep through cracks in the thinned pavement and cause potholes. Time will tell.