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Center rumble strips proposed for ND highways, Highway 34

Rumble strips on the cehterline are being proposed for Highway 34 between Park Rapids and Akeley

Rumble strips on North Dakota highways have moved to center stage.

Long a staple on the shoulders, warning wayward drivers that they're headed for the ditch, rumble strips soon also will occupy the center line on all paved, two-lane roads in North Dakota.

DOT project supervisor Larry Randall said center rumble strips will be placed on Highway 34 between Park Rapids and Akeley.

Cutting the center line noise-making bumps into roads started in the western part of the state last year. This year, the work has moved to the Grand Forks district in the state's northeastern corner.

In one to two years, the entire state will be equipped with the safety measure.

"With North Dakota having fairly straight roads and not a lot of excitement, people have the tendency to daydream or doze off," said Ed Pavlish, assistant district manager for the North Dakota Highway Department. "The rumble strips catch you from crossing the center line, preventing head-on accidents."

Shoulders on Interstate 29 and U.S. Highway 2 four-lane stretches also are getting rumble strips.

Work on the Grand Forks district's estimated 2,000 lane miles will be completed this year.

Centerline rumbles started in the state two years ago, on roads near Bismarck in response to several bad crashes. The state started its system-wide project in 2010.

The centerline strips have some critics, Pavlish said. Residents of rural areas and small towns don't like the noise. Some motorcyclists find them troublesome. And, there's the cost.

Each rumble strip costs about $500 per mile. So, for two shoulders and a centerline, it costs about $1,500 per mile.

"But, studies show a big reduction in crashes with the rumble strips," Pavlish said.