Thursday, April 17, 2008

TV reporters and WSDOT crew lay down the line

Imagine a road on a moonless, dark and rainy night without the striped lines to guide you. Imagine yourself on a four lane highway without the lane lines to separate the fast cars from the slow. Those driving scenarios sound downright scary to me. In some ways, my family’s traveling safety rests on the shoulders of the WSDOT striping crew. Our stripers keep drivers on the straight and narrow and help us arrive safely at our destinations.

Striping a straight line is a lot like playing a video game. It requires hand-eye coordination, patience and heaps of concentration. But don’t take our word for it, just ask local morning traffic reporters Jenni Hogan (KOMO 4) and Adam Gehrke (KCPQ 13).

On April 16th, Jenni and Adam helped kick-off the start of
striping season by testing their road-striping skills. Under the watchful eye of striping operator, Tarik Albershushi, they climbed into a WSDOT striping truck and used a live video feed of the road to gauge where to point the paint gun and lay down the stripe. The morning news reporters came away with a brand new appreciation for the exacting skill required to paint a straight line.

Luckily, our seasoned striping crew have mastered line-striping. In fact, I overheard the leader of the striping crew, Lyle Martinez, say his 20 years of striping our highways has given him a sixth sense – he can hear if something is wrong with the paint gun before the paint hits the pavement.

The Seattle-based crews will re-stripe more than 4,500 miles of highways from the Pierce/King county line to the U.S./Canadian border this summer. Our striping crews east of the Cascades don’t have the challenges of changing weather patterns like we do here in the northwest, so their striping window is a lot wider. Eastern Washington striping crews have told me that because the weather in their neck of the woods consistently remains warm and dry for nearly half the year, and they don’t have to work around heavy traffic sprawls, they can stripe pretty much whenever they want to. Not so in the unpredictable weather and notorious congestion of the greater Puget Sound area.

Since striping caravans move slower than traffic, remember to give them plenty of room and watch for the “wet paint” signs on our highways. Driving over fresh stripes or changing lanes when following a striping crew removes the reflectivity of the stripe and can splatter paint onto vehicles.

You can view photos from the striping season kick-off event and learn more about striping season at our
2008 striping season Web site, or respond here with your striping season questions.

1 comment:

The Geezer said...

For those of you that say the Geez never says anything nice about WSDOT and their institutionalized crazy uncle, WSF, I offer the following.

Your striping boyz do a better job than the news crew does at laying down the line.

Geezer OUT!

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