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What’s with the strange paint markings?

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The NZ Transport Agency is informing motorists that unusual highway roadmarkings appearing in Upper Hutt and Te Horo are part of a paint trial to help identify the best paints to use on our roads.

"How we mark our roads is incredibly important," says regional performance manager Mark Owen.  "Whether you’re driving a vehicle, riding a bike or just walking, road markings show us the route ahead and let us know where we should be on the road.  And the materials we use to mark the road are just as important as the markings themselves. They have to be bright enough to see in the daytime, reflect enough light at night to be easily seen and stay visible in wet conditions (day or night) when we most need them.

"On top of all that, they also have to be pretty tough. With 1 - 10 million journeys on our major roads every year, roadmarkings take a real beating. So the only way that we can really find out whether they are up to the job is to try them out on a real road."

That’s exactly what’s going on at Fergusson Drive, Upper Hutt and State Highway 1 at Te Horo.  The Transport Agency is testing a number of different kinds of paint, to see which ones will provide the high levels of performance, durability and visibility that are needed on our state highways over the coming years."

The markings will be painted horizontally across the road to ensure they are not easily mistaken for normal road markings.

"This trial will help us decide exactly what specifications we will need in the future."

The markings motorists will see at Fergusson Drive and Te Horo are just the first step in this project. "Pre-marking” lines were laid in March to prepare for the full trial, which starts this week. Starting today, the Transport Agency will put down four lines of each of the test paints. Two will be painted directly onto the road and two will go on top of the existing lines.

"We're doing this so that we can see how well the paint performs when we are re-marking over paint that has been out in the elements for a few months, as well as when it's new. By the end of 2015 we should know which paint(s) will give us the most cost-effective and safe roadmarkings for State Highways all around New Zealand."

The Transport Agency would like to assure the public using these roads that all the paint used in this trial is skid resistant and safe to drive on, and that this project will help to create safer, longer lasting roadmarkings in the future.

If you'd like to know more about this trial, please visit www.nzta.govt.nz/national-roadmarking-trial(external link)

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