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ACHD addresses concerns over lane lines and Spring road safety

Posted at 7:24 AM, Apr 18, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-18 09:24:06-04

SOUTH BOISE, Idaho — South Boise residents are raising concerns over poor visibility of lane lines on Ada County roads, particularly during rainy weather and at night.

  • The Ada County Highway District (ACHD) incorporates reflective glass beads in the paint on road lines to enhance visibility. During winter operations, the glass beads can be damaged by snow plows
  • Some residents have questioned the quality of the paint, but ACHD assures it is the best on the market.
  • Click here to report faded lane lines in your area.

(Below is the transcript from the broadcast story)

"The lines in the road are horrible," says one South Boise resident.

You've probably seen it, especially during recent spring showers. "They need to be repainted, and when it's nighttime or raining or snowing, it makes it even worse," says the resident.

South Boise residents are raising concerns over poor visibility of lane lines on Ada County roads. "Especially this time of year, there's no paint showing the lanes and stuff," says the resident.

I've been talking with drivers in the neighborhood, many sharing these worries online [show comments].

...And ACHD says they hear you. "We're anticipating maybe another two weeks tops, then we'll be out painting," says John Wortman with ACHD.

They hope that will improve the issue. The agency uses paint that contains reflective glass beads—over 245,000 pounds of them last year—tasked with maintaining about 3,000 lane line miles across the county. But last year they were only able to touch up 1,700 miles, plus winter weather puts an additional strain on the existing paint. "It's a lot tougher with the abrasion of snow removal. The snow blades just completely shear off the top of the lines, so you have no more glass beads after winter," says Wortman.

But some question whether it's a problem with road maintenance or materials. "We use a paint, it's called a high build. It's very much more durable than your standard traffic paint and it holds the glass beads in place better, so we're not being stingy with the paint that we use. We're actually using the top-notch paint," says Wortman.

As for alternatives used elsewhere, "In Australia, they're trying to make a reflective paint... it's, I think, 300 bucks a gallon, and we pay 13 or 14 bucks a gallon... or a college in Utah that's trying a glow-in-the-dark paint that's sort of dull... they haven't perfected any of that yet... and I don't see that they ever will," says Wortman.

For now, John Wortman with ACHD tells me he feels your pain, and they hope to improve lane lines sometime this month, starting with the areas they didn't get to last year due to short staffing. "There was a section of Eagle, a small section of 5 Mile, a small section of Maple Grove... a couple of Southwest Boise areas we didn't get to, and those are on my priority list," says Wortman.