Millions of people find themselves on the road everyday as they move from one place to another. They depend on good road conditions and efficient traffic management. Road markings convey a lot of information and traffic regulations.
Where is it safe to cross? Where are you allowed to park? How many lanes are there? These and many other concerns are answered by road markings. They make sure that drivers, commuters and pedestrians navigate with ease and safety.
There are different types of materials used in road markings. Here are some of them.
Paint has been widely used since the 1950s. It’s the cheapest material to mark travel lanes and parking spaces. Painted markers also define loading zones, disabled parking and other special purpose spaces.
White and yellow are the most conventional colors used worldwide. Glass beads, when added to the mixture, create a reflective surface.
A truck called a “Striper” marks the road with paint released from pressurized hoses. Otherwise, symbols and markers are manually applied with stencils. Painted markings last for 9 to 36 months.
Compared to paint, thermoplastic coatings are more reflective and durable. They are generally dry mixes of binders, pigments, glass beads, plasticizers and fillers. Road marking machines apply the thermoplastic onto the road’s surface.
Thermoplastic markings perform better in warm climate areas, where they can last for 3 to 6 years. In colder places, snowplows can scrape off the markings.
Since the late 1970s, epoxy has been used for its affordability and reliability. It is a direct competitor of thermoplastic coating. Epoxy contains a pigmented resin base mixed with a catalyst.
Epoxy is heated and then sprayed onto the road’s surface. Reflective glass beads are separately added with a bead gun before the epoxy hardens. It takes about 4 years before epoxy markings fade.
Preformed Polymer Tape
Preformed polymer tape is heavy-grade plastic with embedded reflective beads. It’s also known as cold plastic. They mark pedestrian crossings, turn lanes, bus/taxi lanes, and bike lanes.
There are two ways to apply the tape onto the pavement. First is by overlaying it with industrial-grade rubber cement. The second method is to lay it on hardening asphalt. Then, compress them together with rollers. The tape can last between 4 and 8 years.
Impact of Road Markings to the Pavement Surface
After a certain time, road markers cause cracks, road surface raveling, and potholes. One reason is that water vapor gets trapped underneath the markings. This causes the asphalt binders to loosen their hold on the aggregates.
To guarantee the safe flow of traffic, proper roadcare and maintenance is necessary.