Sanding, scraping and thousands upon thousands of tires – that’s what road paint has to endure and B.C. researchers are looking to find a new paint that can stand up to the abuse longer.
According to the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, pavement marking is done at least once a year, but the water-based paints that meet federal environmental standards for emission of volatile organic compounds wear differently than the old oil-based products, which were discontinued in 2010.
This year, test strips will be painted on three sections of highways that represent the various weather conditions and traffic that paint must endure.
The test paint will be applied horizontally across one lane, with four-inch stripes of white and yellow paint.
Test locations will be near Prince George and Kamloops, and at a location to be determined in the south coast region; the areas will have signs so motorists will know that testing is underway.
Over a year, the products will be tested for durability, longevity and reflective qualities.
The results of these tests should provide information on the performance of different types of paints and paint thicknesses, to measure how they withstand the elements, including the application of abrasives and winter plowing.
"Faded lane markings are one of the top concerns I hear from drivers across this province," said Todd Stone, minister of transportation.
"Lane and road-edge lines are an important safety feature on our highways. This test involves different formulations of environmentally-acceptable paint to identify the ones that will work best on our highways."
Throughout the province, line painting contractors repaint more than 30,000 kilometres of centre and lane lines every year, at a cost of more than $10 million.
The paint used reflects light because it has tiny, specially-designed glass beads in it.