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Old 06-22-2014, 10:46 AM   #1
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Washington State Gouges

No, I am not talking about a particularly viscous roller derby team (although it would make a great name!) but those two rows of grooves ground into the right hand lane that go on for miles. We were traveling from Seattle to Yakima when I first noticed them. I couldn't see them at first because of the angle of the sun but I sure could feel the vibrations they caused. If I hadn't figured out that they were there, I probably would have taken my rig in for a detailed suspension inspection. Does anyone know why they are installed? I figure there are either to 1) limit the speed of big trucks going over the mountains or 2) to provide a better gripping surface for trucks with chains. I also noticed that south of Yakima, the groves had been filled in making for a much smoother ride. Any ideas?

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Old 06-22-2014, 10:53 AM   #2
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I think you are talking about "rumble strips" which are put at the shoulder of some highways in some of our western states, and sometimes on the double center line to alert drivers when they are either driving on the shoulder, or crossing the center line.

They can be especially useful if the fog line or the center line paint wears off, and on dark and rainy nights when you really have a hard time seeing the edge or center of the road. You get to feel it and hear it from the "rumble".

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Old 06-22-2014, 12:04 PM   #3
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In Il. we have some roads with built up ridges on sides and center median, we call them rumble strips they def. work to get your attention.
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Old 06-22-2014, 12:47 PM   #4
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I think what you experienced is just pavement wear from too many tires. Also a lot of people use studded tires which causes more wear.
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Old 06-22-2014, 02:02 PM   #5
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Most western states have those strips, made to get your attention should the mind wander.
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Old 06-22-2014, 03:38 PM   #6
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We also have them here Kentucky. Nice safety feature to make you aware that your getting to close to the edge of the road.
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Old 06-22-2014, 04:08 PM   #7
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I think you are noticing the ruts caused by studded snow tires. The single worst thing done to highways in Washington state. We get about half the life out of asphalt highways than do states like Minnesota and Wisconsin with similar or worse winters.
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Old 06-22-2014, 04:09 PM   #8
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No, these aren't warning grooves demarcating the edges of the lane, these are parallel strips of grooves axle width apart. The vehicles traveling in the right hand lane run over them for miles at a time. At first, I thought it was wear from studs or chains but after the angle of the light changed, I could see they were precisely cut indentations in the pavement.
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Old 06-22-2014, 04:29 PM   #9
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Maybe this is what you are referring to?... Local News | Lowdown On Those Freeway Grooves | Seattle Times Newspaper
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Old 06-22-2014, 09:33 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by CA Streamer View Post

Excellent - thanks for clearing up the mystery.

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