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MnDOT plans to install Highway 61 rumble strips--on shoulders only

A Highway 61 rumble strip in the Lutsen area - Photo by Rhonda Silence
A Highway 61 rumble strip in the Lutsen area - Photo by Rhonda Silence

Back in 2013, the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) installed rumble strips on the centerline of Highway 61 on the east side of Grand Marais. The effort was MnDOT’s “Toward Zero Deaths” initiative.

However, after public outcry over the noise of vehicles crossing the rumble strips, MnDOT completed sound studies and in 2014, ultimately decided to fill in the rumble strip cuts in the pavement in both Cook and Lake counties.

To see MnDOT information on the 2013 noise impact study, click here.

The plan to install rumble strips on Highway 61 is back on MnDOT’s schedule, to begin in August 2019. MnDOT is not planning to install centerline rumble strips, but will be filling in “gaps” along the shoulder of the highway. MnDOT spokesperson Morrie Luke says the rumble strips are installed outside of the white fog line on the highway.

The rumble strips will be installed starting at mile marker 117 and will continue to the Canadian border, with an alternating style of strips. MnDOT plans to install sections of rectangular rubble strips, which are larger cuts in the pavement and which make a louder sound when driven over. There will also be sections of sinusoidal rubble strips, cut in a smaller pattern that is quieter when vehicle wheels pass over. The sinusoidal rumble strips are also considered to be more bike-friendly.

The rumble strips will not be continuous, but will be installed in stretches of 48 feet with breaks of eight-feet. Rumble strips are also not installed right next to driveway entrances or pull offs, they are installed 150-feet before and after.

Luke stresses that the reason for the rumble strips is safety. He said the goal is to help prevent road crashes due to vehicles running off the road.
Anyone who would like to speak to MnDOT’s Morrie Luke may call him at 218-725-2778.

WTIP’s Rhonda Silence reached out to MnDOT to learn more about this August project. Here’s that discussion.