If you happen to live near a highway here in Minnesota that is equipped with rumble strips and are annoyed by the loud noise they create, MnDOT might have an answer for you.

Check this out: Instead of rumble strips, these new inventions are called 'mumble strips,' because while they still warn drivers, the way the strips are cut into the road surface creates much less noise along the highway.

It all started a few years ago when MnDOT started receiving noise complaints about rumble strips from homeowners who live near highways. After doing some research, they've been rolling these mumble strips out in various Twin Cities locations, like Afton, Woodbury and Cottage Grove. They're also in use on Highway-61 north of Two Harbors. This TwinCities.com story explains the difference:

"Rumble strips are grooves set into a series of rectangular patches, like stepping stones. Mumble strips are ground into the asphalt in a continuous undulating wave. The strips are also called 'sinusoidal strips,' which means they have the curving shape of a geometric sine wave," the story noted.

My wife and I live near Highway-14, west of West Circle Drive here in Rochester, and I can tell you that the rumble strips along the shoulders of that stretch are, indeed, loud. They aren't so loud, though, that we've complained to MnDOT, but if there's a new design that would be just as effective in warning drivers without being as noisy, I'd be for all for it!

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