State highway safety project is complete

The scope of the $3 million highway improvement project was huge.

This summer and early fall, the Washington Department of Transportation installed guardrails, rumble strips, better drainage and signage, and even flattened some slopes on U.S. Highway 101 and state Routes 3, 104, 106, 300, 302 and 307.

While the project's goal was to "reduce the severity of collisions on areas that have a history of run-off-the-road incidents results in fatalities and disabling injuries," about 12,800 feet of rumble strips had to be taken back out from Highway 101 because they could have caused more safety issues than solutions.

"Shoulders proved to be too narrow for bicyclists after the installation of some rumble strips," said DOT spokeswoman Emily Pace. "So we had to go back and remove several sections of them."

DOT initially installed about 80 miles of rumble strips on Highway 101 in six different locations. DOT workers removed 12,800 feet of the rumble strips, which cover about half that distance of highway because they generally are installed on both sides of the road.

"Some of the work did happen in the Blyn area, but the safety projects and rumble strip removals were not part of the truck climbing lane project," said Pace. "Both projects have their own page on our Web site, if you'd like to learn more."

The safety projects are all wrapped up for now, even the rumble strip removal, which finished up the last week of October.

DOT representatives estimated the rumble strip removal added an additional $200,000 cost to the project. The removal took 10 days and involved grinding out the recently installed strips and laying patches of asphalt over the exposed areas.

"Typically we install rumble strips where there is four feet of shoulder width and these areas did not meet that criteria," said DOT spokeswoman Lisa Murdock. "It was an oversight that we corrected right away."

The project was funded with the 2005 Gas Tax revenue.

For more information on this or any other state transportation project, visit and click on "Projects."

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