The Craig office of the Colorado Department of Transportation is quickly catching up with the Eastern Slope in products and techniques it uses.
For the first time in Craig two new approaches were taken to repaint lines and arrows that direct traffic. The lines were painted with a new epoxy paint which is like glue. It is actually two compounds chemically bound during a heating process which make the paint last up to two to three years longer.
According to Department of Transportation (DOT) Craig Project Engineer Van Pilaud, the department usually repaints street lines every year. The savings in manpower results in an overall cost savings, even though the product is initially more expensive.
The yellow and white lines painted during the recent overlay project in Craig and those on U.S. Highway 40 between Craig and Steamboat Springs were painted with the new paint.
"The idea is to try to get a longer-lasting product so we don't have to spend manpower and taxpayer dollars to do it every year," Pilaud said.
The previous paint was a water- or lead-based product.
The two chemicals in the epoxy paint are mixed together directly on the truck that is used to paint the lines. The cost of a truck able to mix the chemicals runs from $150,000 to $200,000. The Craig DOT contracts line painting because it does not have a truck capable of mixing the chemicals. Pilaud said he will hold off buying a truck until he is sure it is cost-effective.
Another project change produces longer lasting directional arrows usually painted at intersections to direct traffic. Instead of painting those on, stickers manufactured by 3M, the same company that manufactures Post-It notes, are used. The DOT also used those stickers to indicate cross walks and stop lines.
"That stuff normally holds up really good," Pilaud said.
The stickers have glass beads and reflective components built in. They should last five to six years and remain in place even during winter months when snow plows are running, Pilaud said.
These products are already in use along the Eastern Slope.
"We're bringing Craig into the 21st century," Pilaud said.