DOT awards $14.7M for rural roads safety

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Fourteen states, three counties and two parishes competed for and will receive $14.7 million in Rural Safety Innovation Program (RSIP) funds to improve safety on rural roads, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced Wednesday, Aug. 27.

“Making one road safer is important, but making rural roads around the country less deadly is absolutely essential,” said U.S. Transportation Deputy Secretary Thomas Barrett, who presented awards to officials in Raymond, Miss. “Thanks to these funds, our rural roads are on their way to becoming as safe as they are beautiful.”

Rural roads carry less than half of America’s traffic but account for more than half of the nation’s vehicular deaths. Last February, DOT launched the “Rural Safety Initiative” to address this issue. Though last year’s fatality rate – 1.37 per 100 million vehicle miles traveled – is the lowest in the nation’s history, the 41,059 fatalities in 2007 remain “entirely too high,” Barrett said. “The RSIP program will help us put a national focus on a local problem.”

The awards, made possible by funds from DOT’s Delta Region Transportation Development Program and Intelligent Transportation Systems Program, are part of a $287 million effort to help local and state governments reduce crashes on dangerous rural roads. The RSIP recipients include:

  • Arizona DOT, $480,000, Interstate 10 severe weather warning system;
  • Arkansas Highway and Transportation Dept., $1,540,786, cable median barrier on I-55 in Crittenden County;
  • California DOT, $1,575,175, coordinated speed management in work zones;
  • California/El Dorado County, $304,000, intersection safety using ITS technologies;
  • Colorado DOT, $324,390, speed management on U.S. 160, Wolf Creek Pass Snow Shed;
  • Colorado DOT, $140,749, speed information on approach to curves on U.S. 50 in Fremont County;
  • Illinois DOT, $344,000, rural curve improvement strategy on county and township highway;
  • Illinois DOT, $40,000, vehicle-actuated advanced warning on curves;
  • Iowa DOT, $500,000, traffic and criminal software improvements;
  • Kansas DOT, $284,000, dynamic message signs and road weather information system;
  • Louisiana/Rapides Parish, $1,140,943, roadway departure crash reduction action plan;
  • Louisiana/Grant Parish, $597,954, roadway departure crash reduction action plan;
  • Louisiana DOT, $1,925,983, rural intersection safety implementation plan;
  • Minnesota DOT, $160,000, installation of dynamic curve warning systems;
  • Mississippi DOT, $1,925,983, low-cost road-departure crash countermeasures;
  • Mississippi/Hinds County, $303,552, low-cost road-departure crash countermeasures;
  • Missouri DOT, $800,000, dynamic message signs and closed-circuit TV on I-57, I-55 and U.S. 60;
  • South Carolina DOT, $840,000, to decrease hydroplaning on U.S. 25 in Greeneville County;
  • Tennessee DOT, $650,800, sign inventory and assessment/management system project;
  • Washington/King County, $202,400, advanced curve warning and driver feedback signs; and
  • Wisconsin DOT, $609,000, rural thru-stop intersection crash prevention.
  • For more information on DOT’s Rural Safety Initiative, go to