MnDOT removes rumble strips due to residential racket

MnDOT removes rumble strips due to residential racket

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VICTORIA, Minn. (KMSP) -

Those rumble strips that the Minnesota Department of Transportation has been adding to roads to keep drivers from inadvertently crossing lanes are making too much of a racket for some residents.

It turns out the deep grooves cut into the highway to keep drivers from dozing off at the wheel are working too well because they wake up neighbors as they try to nod off.

"We knew when we moved in we were moving next to a highway, that was a given," explained Brad Johnson. "We never expected rumble strips -- the constant noise, 100 times a day."

Hundreds of miles of rural roads bear rumble strips to alert motorists that weaving out of their lane. In fact, MnDOT made it their policy to add the safety feature any time a rural, undivided highway with a speed limit of 55 mph is resurfaced.

When the 20-mile stretch of Highway 5 between Chanhassen and Norwood-Young America was resurfaced, it caused a massive traffic headache. Afterward, a new kind of headache emerged.

"There were nights we couldn't have our window open," Johnson said. "It was difficult at times to have a conversation in the back yard. It sounded like a B-52 bomber going overhead."

Alan Taylor told FOX 9 News he was woken up at least twice a week in the middle of the night.

"They are very loud and they start very suddenly," he said. "It's a shock to the system."

Most of the complaints came from homes that backed up to Highway 5, but the late-night rumbles could be heard from blocks away.

"I think everybody, MnDOT included, underestimated the impact on neighbors," said Victoria Mayor Tim O'Connor. "The reaction was pretty intense. The neighbors were really put out -- the fear of losing value in their homes plus the inability to sleep at night. They couldn't get away from the noise."

In the end, MnDOT decided to remove the rumble strips after residents made noise of their own about them.

"We thought our property values would plummet," Johnson said. "Our peace and quiet would go downhill, and we just thought, 'That's it for the neighborhood.'"

The one-mile stretch of highway that leads into Victoria before the speed limit drops to 35 mph has now been filled in, and O'Connor said he hopes MnDOT will adjust its plan for other towns too.

Carver County also removed some rumble strips on Highway 10 over similar noise complaints.

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