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Pavement Marking Experts Solves El Paso Dilemma


The City of El Paso Texas had a very costly problem. Because of the extreme summer heat, and its effect on asphalt pavements, their traffic markings were being “blacked out” by the heated rubber tires of the area’s commuters. Consequently, the city was forced to replace their thermoplastic road markings on major thoroughfares as frequently as every six months.

Twice a year, the existing thermoplastic lines would be removed by a grinding truck and replaced with new ones. Each time, the scarring of the asphalt by the grinding trucks would be a little deeper and a little more damaging to the pavement. Within a couple of months, the “blacking out” process would begin showing up again on the newly applied lines. This “remove and replace” cycle appeared to be one the city was faced with indefinitely.

Chad Sargent, Road Marking Specialist for Stripe-A-Zone, Inc. in Grand Prairie, Texas, had an idea on how to solve this reoccurring problem. Equipped with his newly acquired Stripe Hog SH8000, Chad approached the city maintenance officials and suggested that they consider “rejuvenating” the blacked out lines. On his own time and expense, he identified a test site and coordinated a time for the demonstration.

The first step was to take an initial retroreflectivity reading of the selected markings which resulted in readings between 54 and 62 millicandelas (mcd). The minimum retroreflectivity generally required by the Texas Department of Transportation for new striping is 175 mcd. After a single pass by the Stripe Hog SH8000, a second reading was taken with values between 250 and 275 mcd without causing any damage to the marking or surrounding pavement.

Daryl Cole, Street Maintenance Supervisor for the City of El Paso, stated “The idea of simply rejuvenating the lines with the waterblaster was new for us and I was concerned about what the reflectivity readings would be after the cleaning. The end result far exceeded our expectations. It was very fast, didn’t leave any damage, and is very environmentally friendly. We are now working on a plan for regular rejuvenation of the thermoplastic markings on our main streets. This is going to save our city a lot of money and eliminate the damage caused on our roads by grinding away the existing stripes. Chad and his guys are definitely to be commended for their creative thinking in the interest of the city of El Paso.”

It’s no wonder that for four consecutive years, the readers of Roads & Bridges magazine have selected the Stripe Hog Waterblasting System for their annual Gold Award in the Stripe Removal Category. The Stripe Hog and partners like Stripe-A-Zone are working together, making our roadways and runways safer.


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