CONCORD — Installation of rumble strips on parts of Route 106, which has been the scene of several head-on crashes in recent years, will begin next fall, a state Department of Transportation officials told meeting Thursday.
The grooves on the center line of the highway, meant to alert drivers if they drift out of their lane, will first be installed south of Laconia, state Highway Safety Engineer Michael Dugas told the remote Zoom meeting.
The strips will be scored into the pavement for 26 miles of 35 miles of the busy corridor between Pembroke and Meredith, Dugas said. The cost of installing the strips is about $5,000 per mile. The entire project will be paid for with federal funds, he said.
The strips will be installed where the speed limit is 40 mph or higher. In addition, strips will be installed in some places to alert motorists when they drift onto the shoulder of the highway. Those shoulder strips will be put in place wherever the shoulder is 6 feet wide or greater, Dugas explained.
“This is long overdue,” state Rep. Charlie St. Clair of Laconia who has long advocated to have the strips added to the heavily-traveled highway because of the number of serious crashes in recent years. “If we could have started it yesterday I would have been thrilled.”
Dugas said Route 106 will receive sinusoidal strips which are made in such a way that they cause a noise that easily captures the attention of the driver, but creates less outside noise. In the past many people who live along highways with rumble strips complain about the recurring noise created by passing traffic that drives onto the grooved portion of the roadway.
The strips will be installed only on portions of the highway which DOT maintains. The city of Laconia maintains Route 106 between the intersection with Lexington Drive on the north and the intersection with Route 107 on the south, according to city Public Works Director Wes Anderson.
The Loudon Planning Board Chairman Stanley Prescott and Nick Duggan, assistant operations manager at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway, both offered comments in support of the plan.
The only negative comment came from J. Wiensec, who owns a seasonal residence on the shore of Rocky Pond in Canterbury. Wiensec said the strips will add to the noise on Route 106 that presently exists because of speeding motorists and the heavy truck traffic. He criticized DOT for failing to provide hard statistics on the number of accidents along the highway.
The strips will be installed in 2022 for the section of the highway between Lexington Avenue in Laconia and Livingston Road in Meredith, Dugas said.