MACOMB COUNTY — Thanks to the installation of mumble strips, Macomb County drivers haven’t heard as much “rumbling” on county roads.
Last month, quieter sinusoidal rumble strips, or mumble strips, began taking the place of traditional rumble strips technology, making the Macomb County Department of Roads one of the first state road agencies to utilize the newer technology.
Locally, work has been completed on 26 Mile Road, east of North Avenue in the northeast corner of Macomb Township, and North Avenue, from north of 23 Mile Road to 30 Mile Road. Work to be completed next year in Macomb Township includes 26 Mile Road, west of North Avenue.
A Sept. 24 County Road Association of Michigan press release states that rumble strips on the edge and centerlines of roads and highways have been around for years. They’re used to keep drivers alert and prevent head-on and run-off crashes. Mumble strips function like rumble strips, except they produce less noise.
“The Macomb County Department of Roads is one of the first road agencies in Michigan to use the new technology, on almost 100 miles of two-lane roads in its northern, more rural areas,” the release notes.
Mia Silver, MCDR project engineer, said with sinusoidal rumble strips, tires still bump down and up, but less abruptly.
“It’s quieter outside the vehicle and it’s also quieter inside the vehicle, but it is still loud enough inside the vehicle to provide effective feedback to the driver,” she said.
MCDR’s website states it received a grant from the Michigan Department of Transportation to install sinusoidal rumble strips.
This summer, MCDR installed 40 miles of mumble strips throughout the county.
The county road association believes that in addition to driver safety and alertness, mumble strips also improve the visibility of a road’s centerline significantly, especially in wet conditions.
MCDR hopes the quiet innovation will reduce the number of crashes and fatalities in the county. In 2014, Macomb County experienced 24,471 crashes and 41 fatalities, according to MCDR. By 2018, that number had risen to 25,784 crashes and 52 fatalities.
“Macomb was looking for applications, technologies that can help with run-off-road or head-on crashes on two-lane roadways,” John Abraham, MCDR director of traffic and operations, said. “We conducted thorough research on sinusoidal, looked at the design elements, and talked to our partners at MDOT, who were also looking at this application. We came to a consensus that this could work for us.”
Other Macomb County areas where mumble strip work has been completed are Romeo Plank Road, from 29 Mile to 32 Mile roads; 29 Mile Road, from east of Schoenherr Road to North Avenue; and New Haven Road, from North Avenue and 29 Mile Road to Rosell Road.To read more about Macomb County’s integration of mumble strips, visit micountyroads.org/newsroom/crossroads.