EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

May 20, 2013

Get ready to rumble soon on Route 111

DOT holds public hearing tomorrow on safety measure

By John Toole
jtoole@eagletribune.com

---- — WINDHAM — Route 111 drivers in Southern New Hampshire should get ready to rumble.

New Hampshire Department of Transportation officials air plans at a public forum tomorrow to install rumble strips on the highway, as well as highly reflective striping, to help improve travel safety.

A forum for residents in the Hudson to Kingston area is slated for 6 p.m. at Windham High School, 64 London Bridge Road.

“It’s a proven, low-cost safety measure,” DOT’s Ronald Grandmaison said.

The $150,000 project would involve about 20 miles of the highway and is expected to take place in August or September of this year.

Crews would avoid areas under construction in Salem and Windham.

Work would be from North Lowell Road in Windham west into Hudson and from Route 28 east into Kingston.

“This is a very quick operation, probably done in a couple of weeks,” Grandmaison said.

Construction times aren’t yet determined. Grandmaison said work likely would take place outside prime commuting hours.

Traffic accidents on the busy roadway prompted the project.

Grandmaison said there have been several bad accidents in Salem and Hampstead. He expects to have more detailed statistics at the forum.

“This will help out with distracted drivers and drowsy drivers,” he said.

Hampstead police Lt. John Frazier expects the project will benefit driver safety.

“In terms of safety, I’m sure this is going to be extremely helpful,” Frazier said.

There are sections of Route 111 that can pose challenges for drivers in poor lighting, he said.

“The visibility isn’t all that great,” Frazier said.

AAA Northern New England spokesman Patrick Moody said rumble strips are making highways safer.

“Reflective striping and rumble strips are examples of road design elements that are being employed to reduce the number and severity of lane departure crashes,” he said.

Rumble strips already are in use on New Hampshire highways, including the Interstate system, Route 101 and Route 16.

The vibration they cause lets a driver know they are crossing the centerline or fog line.

An added innovation for Route 111 would be the use of high-visibility striping — Grandmaison calls it “rumble striping” — painted over the rumble strips.

“You’re going to get more of the light reflected back to the driver,” Grandmaison said.

Another forum was held recently in Hudson, but was poorly attended.

DOT officials are looking to hear from residents of Windham, Salem and Hampstead who will be affected by the project.

“Hopefully, we will get more people,” he said.

Highway officials don’t intend to impede cyclists.

“We know that route is used by a lot of bicyclists,” Grandmaison said. “We’re doing everything we can to provide a safe area for them to use the roadway as well.”