Full Pavement Rehabilitation and Safety Improvements Milepost 291-331
The Natchez Trace Parkway (Parkway) seeks public comments November 18 through December 20, 2019 on a proposal to install audible pavement markings from milepost 291 to 331 in Colbert and Lauderdale Counties in Alabama, and in Prentiss and Tishomingo Counties in Mississippi. Research suggests audible pavement markings reduce accidents.
From 2014 to 2018, lane departures account for 91% of motor vehicle fatalities along the Parkway. Over that 4-year period, 39 crashes resulted in 46 deaths. "Lane departure is the dominant traffic safety concern for the Parkway," stated Central District Law Enforcement Ranger John Hearne. The fatality rate from lane departure crashes along the Parkway almost doubles the national average of 52%. The Federal Highway Administration and Parkway staff are considering the installation of raised pavement markers or rumble strips along the centerline and both edges of the Parkway.
Although the public has suggested constructing a road shoulder or bike lane to improve safety, it is not a feasible alternative for the Parkway due to significant environmental impacts to natural resources, prohibitive costs, and adverse impacts to the protected design intent of the cultural landscape.
"Engineering controls, such as the proposed rumble strips, will help avert drivers when they veer toward the edge or centerline. Research suggests these markings will reduce the number of serious crashes along the Parkway," said Hearne.