New bright lane markings on a nearby Utah highway

The Utah Department of Transportation’s $26 million project will replace pavement markings on major roads in at least five counties.

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) A $26 million Utah Department of Transportation project will replace lane markings on major roads statewide in at least five counties, including Salt Lake County.

New, high-contrast road markings could make Utah’s disappearing lane markings a thing of the past.

The dashed markings on Utah’s roads have long been a concern in the Beehive State—whether during a summer monsoon or a winter snowstorm, drivers are often unable to see lane separations in inclement weather.

But in Utah County, teams are currently working towards completion a section with updated, thicker road strips — and there’s already positive feedback, said Utah Department of Transportation spokesman John Gleason.

The $26 million Enhanced Freeway Striping project replaces lane markings on Interstate 15 from 800 South in Payson to Lehi’s Main Street. Re-plating there started in March and is expected to be completed in September before the next work is carried out Replace road markings in Salt Lake, Davis, Toeele, and Summit counties.

This work will begin on September 5 and is expected to be completed by fall 2024.

“It’s called contrast stripes…some people call it tiger tail,” Gleason said. “You draw a white line and then you follow the white line directly, then you have the black and it really pops – it really pops and makes the white even more visible.”

To replace the lane markings, teams first remove the old stripes by milling a shallow groove in the pavement that also protects the new stripes from snowplow damage.

The adhesive is then applied to the road and the new high-contrast markings are sealed there, which are all 5 cm thicker than the old stripes.

sections of Next up are I-15, Interstate 215, Interstate 80 and State Route 201 to receive the new marking.

“We’ve had mayors and just people in the community who have come forward and indicated that it’s a huge improvement over what they had before,” Gleason said of the Utah County phase.

“Because the last thing on earth that could happen to you when you’re in the middle of a rainstorm is for the lines to go away,” Gleason said. “I think that’s happened to all of us.”

Utah’s wide variety of extreme weather conditions is one of the biggest factors in the wear and tear of the state’s current pavement markings. And despite what drivers might see, they’re all already reflective — but that wear and tear causes them to dull, Gleason said.

Gleason said UDOT is now also reallocating $6 million annually from its construction budget to strip maintenance, even though it has always scheduled new strips as major projects are implemented.

Commenting on the ongoing strip marking work, Gov. Spencer Cox said on Twitter early Monday, “This is great news for Utahns as we work to make our roads safe for all.”

Justin Scaccy

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