2009-04-23 / Local & State

PennDOT Line Painting Operations Under Way

Motorists need to avoid crossing just painted traffic lines

With the pending arrival of warmer weather, PennDOT's traffic line painting operations will soon be in full swing. Department line painting crews will be working from early morning to late evening to restore nearly 13,934 line miles of traffic lines along state highways in the sixcounty district that encompasses Bedford, Blair, Cambria, Fulton, Huntingdon and Somerset counties.

According to Wally Tomassetti, assistant district executive for maintenance at PennDOT's District 9 headquarters in Hollidaysburg, line painting in this region will begin in mid-April and will continue into the fall months.

Tomassetti said that priorities are established to first paint all major traffic routes, roads in mountainous areas and fog areas, along with any other critical locations.

When the spring weather arrives, a large percentage of the department's traffic lines are in need of repainting, having faded or vanished because of weathering.

During winter, the loss of traffic line striping is further accelerated by snow-removal operations and the application of salt and anti-skid material to the roadways

"What happens over time, and particularly during the winter, is the glass beads become scuffed and no longer reflect light, thereby becoming ineffective, or, in some cases, disappear entirely from the line stripe," Tomassetti said.

PennDOT's District 9 has two five-man line painting crews for the six-county area. One crew handles roadways in Somerset, Bedford and Fulton counties and the other covers Blair, Cambria and Huntingdon.

The line painting train travels at a speed of 15 mph and generally includes the paint truck, a supply truck and a trail vehicle equipped with an orange and black flashing warning board reading "WET PAINT" or "LINE PAINTING."

A single flashing lighted bar means drivers should not pass the equipment, while flashing arrows will direct motorists into the proper lane. Motorists should not pass the line painting equipment on a two-lane highway unless directed by a member of the crew or a flag person.

Tomassetti said passing the line painting truck prematurely can result in paint being splashed onto vehicles as well as damage to the freshly painted traffic lines. He noted that line painting vehicles will pull off to the side every so often to allow motorists to pass.

"PennDOT uses a waterbased paint in order to comply with environmental concerns and regulations, and this type of paint requires more precise weather conditions in order to dry properly," he explained. Tomassetti noted that motorists who get traffic line paint on their vehicles can generally remove the paint if the vehicle is taken to a pressure type car wash within an hour or two, but the best remedy is not to cross freshly painted traffic lines.

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