UDOT conducting road tests on lane striping

Oct 6, 2021, 6:30 PM | Updated: 6:30 pm
The Utah Department of Transportation's lane striping test zone on I-84, west of Tremonton. (Jed Bo...
The Utah Department of Transportation's lane striping test zone on I-84, west of Tremonton. (Jed Boal/KSL TV)
(Jed Boal/KSL TV)

TREMONTON, Utah — After the sun goes down, if you find yourself driving on a wet road, you may have a tough time spotting the lane stripes.

That’s one of the most common complaints the Utah Department of Transportation gets from drivers.

To find better solutions, they are conducting a major test of striping materials and techniques on Interstate 84, west of Tremonton.

“Of all of the issues we hear about, striping is probably the biggest,” said John Gleason, a UDOT spokesperson.

Many of us would agree — you can’t always see the lane stripes, especially when it’s stormy at night.

“It’s such an essential part of driving,” said Gleason. “You want to make sure you can see the striping.”

Gleason said the highway safety industry is always trying to improve striping, but it’s not simple. No matter what it’s made of, lane striping takes a beating on the roads.

“With the amount of traffic that we see on Utah roads — as well as the snow storms and the plowing, the salt — striping wears off after a while,” the UDOT spokesperson said.

Anything raised in the road can get ripped out by a snowplow.

UDOT wants to use the best products, so they are testing 100 different stripes on I-84.

“This is a section of road that has both asphalt and pavement,” said Gleason.

UDOT engineers are testing paint, tape, reflective beads and many other combinations.

“We want to see which ones are going to be durable, which ones are going to be the most visible, because we have a lot of factors here in Utah,” the spokesperson said.

UDOT regularly works with other departments of transportation from across the country and private industry to find new solutions.

“The goal is to find something that’s durable that can last several years,” said Gleason.

In recent years, UDOT started grooving the reflective striping into the road: cutting grooves into the road and putting the reflective paint in the grooves.

“So it’s just underneath the surface and would not be affected by the plow blades going across it,” said Gleason.

UDOT is also testing another new technique on Interstate 15 in the south end of the Salt Lake Valley. They added a contrasting black stripe with the white stripe to make it more visible.

“To make it pop, make it stand out a little bit more,” said Gleason. “We’ve had a lot of positive feedback.”

UDOT hopes to get more answers from the extensive road test.

“It’s one of our top priorities to make our roads as safe as they can be, and striping is an important component to that,” said Gleason.

UDOT engineers will check in on the test stripes each month and wrap up the experiment in about three years.

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UDOT conducting road tests on lane striping