Following the conclusion of a successful project to test the durability and reliability of new and existing highway line paints, the ministry will be taking action to improve line visibility throughout the province using a more durable and longer-lasting formula, announced Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Todd Stone.
“Our ministry’s first priority is to ensure that our highways and roads are as safe as possible,” said Stone. “Ministry staff have been working diligently to find a durable paint that can stand up to B.C.’s tough winters. I’m pleased to say we’ve sourced a new, more durable and longer-lasting formula that has tested well in B.C.’s climate and fully meets federal environmental guidelines. Crews are getting ready for the next paint season and will be applying the new paint to key highway locations across the province.”
To improve durability, the ministry will be using a new high build paint formulation that allows for a thicker application of line paint. This paint has tested well on highways that undergo daily and rigorous highway maintenance activities. In addition, crews will start using a new premium glass bead to improve the retro reflectivity of the lines. The new glass bead will be used in conjunction with the high build paint and will also be added to normal paint in areas where additional night reflectivity is needed.
The ministry will spend an additional $1 million applying the new high build paint and premium glass bead to key locations on some of the province’s busiest highways including Highways 1, 3, 5, 16 and 97.
One of the first areas to benefit from the addition of new reflective glass bead with normal paint is Highway 14 on Vancouver Island. This highway will be painted in early April.
As part of the project, test strips were painted on three sections of highways representing different weather and traffic conditions. The locations were Highway 97 near Prince George, Highway 5 north of Halston Road near Kamloops, and Highway 7 near Maple Ridge. Four-inch-wide yellow and white stripes were painted across a lane of highway, with signs installed to let motorists know testing was underway. Following the completion of the test project, the Ministry piloted the high build paint on Highway 1, 3, and 5 over the winter.
Worn line paint is not a unique problem to the province of British Columbia. Federal regulations changed in 2010 and the use of oil-based paints on highways was discontinued due to standards for emission of Volatile Organic Compounds or VOCs. Newer formulations are more environmentally friendly but not as durable, with line markings fading quickly, especially in parts of the province that experience extreme winter conditions.
- Throughout the province, line painting contractors repaint over 30,000 kilometres of centre and lane lines every year, at a cost of over $13 million annually.
- Winter sand, snow plows, and tire chains are key factors contributing to line-paint durability.