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NEWS RELEASE · 19th May 2010
Ministry of Transportation
Line-marking crews have begun the annual task of refreshing markings on highways across British Columbia to help provide a safer drive for motorists.

"To ensure safety, it is important that motorists coming across a line-marking crew slow down and follow traffic control signing," said Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Shirley Bond. "Following posted instructions will ensure the safety of the travelling public and the line- marking crews as they complete this necessary work."

More than 25,000 kilometres of lines are marked every year throughout the province to guide drivers. Line marking typically begins every spring because markings are more durable when applied to clean, swept roads in warmer, dry weather.

Most lines are marked using quick-drying, water-based paints that are environmentally friendly. Glass beads are suspended in the paint to create reflectivity for better visibility at night. The thickness of the paint and the application of beads are based on provincial standards consistent with industry best practices.

Line markings are exposed to extreme weather, winter aggregates and heavy traffic, which wears away the paint over time. The harsher the winter and the more traffic that drives over the lines, the faster the lines wear. Line markings tend to wear off faster on new pavement because often it takes a season for the surface of new pavement to settle. For this reason, the ministry specifies that new paving projects must have two coats of paint applied in the first year. The paint industry is constantly researching technologies that will increase durability while ensuring the paint is environmentally friendly.

Pavement-marking crews often work outside of normal working hours and can be encountered at all times of the day or night and on any day of the week. Signs may advise of "line markings in progress for next 8 km" or so because work is done at less than 20 km/hour and large areas can be covered in a day. Most crews also use message boards to provide information on the fresh lines and help direct traffic when it is safe to pass.