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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Watertown US70 Gets Rumbled

US 70 Bike Route in Watertown was resurfaced and rumbled last week (early November 2010).  This stretch of highway runs to the Dekalb county line and is used for the annual Big Hill Challenge sponsored by the Veloteers. The grooving was applied in accordance with the March 2010 TDOT specifications.

The new 8-inch-wide rumble starts a couple of miles north of Watertown, passes through the town, and ends at the Dekalb county line.  At either end it joins with rumbling applied in the prior years.  North of the town US70 is profusely signed (every quarter mile or less) as a Bike Route, has three-to-four-foot-wide shoulders, and has the old 16-inch-wide rumble on the fog line all the way to I-40 at Lebanon.  At the Dekalb county line the shoulder and the Bike Route disappear, but the rumble does not.  It continues through Alexandria and to Liberty.  The edge of the highway is feathered with an eight-inch-wide groove.

The 16-inch rumble application north of Watertown is barely manageable for a cyclist until near I-40 where the shoulder widens to about ten feet. The 8-inch November grooving is on shoulders 4-to-6 feet wide and presents no significant issue for cyclists. It has frequent non-grooved gaps. In Dekalb county the road has no shoulder and if the bicyclists choose to ride here (highly hazardous for bicycle use) they must ride in the roadway with high speed (at least 55MPH) regardless of the presence of the rumble.


  1. Interesting Tom. The section between Alexandria and Hwy 96 / 70 intersection was considered impassable by bicyclists prior to the resurfacing. Sounds like TDOT missed an opportunity to improve things.

  2. This section of road remains impassable due to absence of shoulder, 55 MPH traffic, and less than ideal terrain. However, the berm along the highway is adequate to allow a bicyclist to escape imminent danger should s/he be horribly foolish enough to attempt to ride it.

    Also only the section of US70 in Wilson county was resurfaced. TDOT grooved US70 (e.g. feathered the edge) in Dekalb County without resurfacing it.

  3. At least they rumbled an road that left a ridable shoulder as opposed to something like TN 258 that has only the 1-2 foot shoulder and heavy car and bike traffic.