This past summer, RoadSafe Traffic Systems took on a project in Tennessee that restriped more than 3,600 lane miles stretching over 45 counties covering two regions. With projects varying from highways to county roads, project management and scheduling were crucial to meeting the Sept. 30, 2012 deadline.
RoadSafe Traffic Systems, headquartered in Chicago, IL, has offices throughout the United States. It provides traffic safety services and products and pavement marking services throughout the country.
The project was comprised of Region 1, Eastern Tennessee, and Region 2, East Central Tennessee. RoadSafe had one crew operate in each region consisting of 24 employees, and a RoadSafe manager would coordinate with the individual state engineer in the area.
This contract was separated into two pieces with the major portion consisting of performance-based restripe projects and the other portion for “call-out” purposes to repair markings. The restripe work consisted of 2,300 lane miles striped in a combination of 4-, 6- and 8-inch wide thermoplastic markings in Region 1. In Region 2, more than 1,300 lane miles of 6-inch wide thermoplastic markings were applied. RoadSafe operated a MRL thermoplastic truck putting down a 40-mil spray.
Completing performance-based contracts
For the performance-based portion of this project, RoadSafe was required to meet state specifications of reflectivity. “The reflectivity of the markings must maintain a particular standard,” says Kathleen Holst, senior vice president of RoadSafe. “For the motorist, that means the utmost in visability for the lane markings. About 30 days after we lay the lines we need to ensure our work meets quality standards and that the reflectivity of the stripes is not only immediate but can be maintained for a period of time.”
To maintain the required quality of retroreflectivity, the trucks and equipment are calibrated so the correct amount of beads are installed in the liquid marking as well as properly imbedded into the paint. RoadSafe also runs test plates to make sure the right millage and reflectivity is met. Crew members follow behind the trucks each night to take reflectivity readings.
“They have 30 days to measure the reflectivity in the whole county,” says Mark Long, general manager of RoadSafe Traffic Systems. “The clock starts 45 days after we’re finished striping the county. After that 30 days, our markings need to comply with certain reflectivity standards, one for the yellow stripes and another for the white.”
Due to the expansive area, crews would operate on a seven day schedule allowing extra time in case of weather or mechanical breakdowns. “Weather is always the biggest challenge,” Long says. “Rain is our biggest enemy with regards to throwing the production schedule off, and you can lose three to four days. Since the crews are traveling, if we know it will rain for a few days we can shut down and send them back home.”
RoadSafe also makes sure the crews are flexible to adjust their schedules due to weather. “Sometimes it’s a moving target for us,” Long says. “We have to be flexible and nimble enough to move to unscheduled areas. If we see rain in the northeast corner for three days we will mobilize our crew and go in the other direction. Because of the time frame, we have to keep the trucks going.”
Because crews worked on different types of roads the number of lane miles completed per day varied from section to section. “It depends on the roadway,” Long says. “The amount striped is dictated by where the roads are and what we are able to do. We probably averaged about 35-50 miles or so per shift. Some of these roads are in towns, and you can’t predict you’re going to be on a wide open road where the lack of intersections, traffic and congestion allow for quicker production rates.”