Michigan DOT Raises the Bar On Work Zone Visibility

MDOT and PK Contracting tested reflective paints for wet environments and the state set the nation’s first standards mandating use of wet reflective tape and paint in work zones

Nighttime visibility in work zones can be challenging, particularly in the rain. In 2015, the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) teamed up with local contractor PK Contracting to test and create reflective paints for performance in dark, wet work zones.

The developed products were so effective that MDOT set new guidelines and standards for work zones throughout the state. Mandatory use of temporary wet reflective tape and paint in work zones is the first requirement of its kind in the United States and went into full effect this year.

"We're always trying to innovate and we are motivated by safety," said MDOT Work Zone Delivery Engineer Chris Brookes. "Thirty-five percent of work zone crashes happen on rainy nights and we believe this new standard will make a big difference."

"The challenge was creating a temporary paint for a two-month work zone stage that was strong enough to hold onto the wet reflective optics," said MDOT Work Zone Tech Specialist Chuck Bergmann. "It's a new standard, and we are excited to see how this improves our statistics."