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Proposed rumble strips irk residents

By Ben Rodgers

HOBART – A handful of residents expressed their concerns over rumble strips at the Tuesday, Sept. 18, Hobart village board meeting.

The Brown County Public Works Department wants to install the rumble strips this fall on County Highway U (County Line Road) at the intersection of County Highway EE (Orlando Drive). The strips would be installed at the two-way stop north and southbound.

However, the county notified Hobart one day prior to a letter being sent out to residents notifying them of the plan, which was roughly two weeks ago.

“It affects us for noise, obviously it’s horrible,” said Becky Oudenhoven, a resident who lives near the proposed site. “We have manure trucks loaded down and feed trucks loaded down and I understand farmers have to do that, but they run until midnight during the season when they are doing that during the summer, and with those big heavy trucks, that makes it twice as bad.”

Oudenhoven and her husband, Daune, presented the board with statistics and figures that showed other options like larger stop signs, a four-way intersection and reflective tape would be more effective for increasing safety.

“We’re just hoping to get better signage, either a four way stop or an illuminated stop sign,” she said. “Let’s try something else before we do this.”

In the county’s letter to Hobart, it said the rumble strips would increase safety at 11 problem intersections.

“Brown County has seen 15 deaths from January 2015 to June 2018 and many more injury and serious injury crashes as a result of rural intersection crashes where someone failed to stop at a stop sign,” the letter read.

However, the Oudenhovens reported that that intersection has only seen one fatality since 2014, after they checked with the county.

“This isn’t happening every few months,” Becky Oudenhoven said. “I think signage should be the first option here.”
Jeff Ambrosius, who lives near the intersection, said the noise will take away from the rural living and hurt property values.

“I’m concerned about accidents like everything else,” he said. “What about these property values? Who is going to buy someone’s home when they’re loud all day long?”

In the county’s letter to Hobart and residents nearby it said local municipalities support the decision to install rumble strips, but Hobart officials said that’s not the case.

“There was no correspondence from any staff member in Hobart to Brown County that we support it,” said Aaron Kramer, village administrator.

The board agreed to send an email immediately following the meeting to the county executive, his assistant and the chairman of the county highway commission to oppose the installation of rumble strips until further investigation is held and to request a meeting with public officials.

Kramer sent the following email immediately after the meeting: “The Hobart Village Board tonight approved the following motion: ‘To oppose the installation, by Brown County, of stop control rumble strips on County Highway U (County Line Road) at the intersection of County Highway EE (Orlando Drive) until further investigation of other options to improve vehicular safety are explored and analyzed, and request that the appropriate Brown County officials meet with Hobart Village officials per the authority established under Village Resolution 2008-16, adopted November 5th 2008 by the Village Board of Hobart.’ We look forward to meeting with you to discuss alternatives to the proposed rumble strips, and relay the concerns of the neighboring residents as expressed to the Board at their meeting tonight.”

In other news, a speed limit change on Trout Creek Road, from North Overland Road to County Highway J, from 35 mph from 45 mph was pulled and will remain at 45 mph.

The board also approved a contract to Kruczek Construction for $815,000 for Camber Court utility and street construction, which includes a regional storm water management plan for that area in the Southeast Business Park (Tax Increment District No. 2).

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