For anyone having trouble making out the lane lines on Palm Beach County roads lately, you probably don’t need an eye checkup. The problem is that the county has fallen behind on scheduled lane marking.
On Tuesday, the Palm Beach County Commission approved a $4.5 million road pavement marking contract that is anticipated to help bring many neglected county streets back up to par, but still will continue a pattern of too little financing for striping maintenance.
“We were very fortunate over the last 10 years to do a lot of road widening and improvement projects, so with that came new striping,” County Engineer George Webb told the Town-Crier on Monday. “We also were able to keep our striping budget to handle the roads that weren’t being redone, but our new road-building and widening projects have dropped down.”
Striping lasts typically for about 10 years, depending on the amount of traffic on a road, Webb said.
“The road striping budget, because of other budget pressures, has not kept up with the need,” he said. “We are substantially behind now as far as where we would have liked to have gotten out there with our new, refreshed striping. We did what we did, and we try to make do.”
Webb said the striping has gotten progressively worse over the past five years because the striping budget has not increased.
“If I looked five years ago, it’s about what it was then, yet more lane miles and more markings have reached the end of their, for lack of better term, useful life,” Webb said.
He said the lack of maintenance is becoming more noticeable. “I was riding down Belvedere east of State Road 7 in front of the Walmart,” Webb said. “We’re benefiting because we put in the raised reflective pavement markers. They’re there, but the actual white stripes, it’s very hard to see them anymore.”
The contract is with the sole bidder, Southwide Industries of West Palm Beach, not to exceed $4,470,000 to install pavement marking material along with raised, reflective pavement markers on an as-needed basis for various roadways throughout the county. Southwide’s bid was $3,415,773.
The contract will include 1.9 million linear feet, or about 361 miles, of 6-inch white thermoplastic pavement marking compound lines at a cost of 55 cents per linear foot, and 1.26 million linear feet, about 238 miles, of 6-inch yellow marking at the same price.