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Archive for May, 2015

Better Than Waterblasting

Friday, May 15th, 2015

better than waterblasting

Waterblasting vs. Rotary Erasing:

Doewaterblastings Rotary Erasing offer a better stripe removal solution than waterblasting?

Short Answer: Yes.

Erasing performs better than water on unsealed surfaces when stripes are thicker than 30 mils.

The Georgia Department of Transportation even gave a thumbs up to Rotary Erasing after seeing Travis Steed’s work with Mid State Striping.

Travis had a project requiring the removal of thermoplastic by waterblasting only. Travis had a problem that the water-blast sub-contract move-in cost of $5,000.00 was too high for the short amount of removal work required (200 SF of intersection markings). So, Travis contacted SMITH Manufacturing to find a low-cost solution that would satisfy GADOT engineers.

The state required waterblasting, but was open to alternatives. GADOT was convinced that waterblasting offered a cleaner solution with minimal road scarring. The state had prior pavement marking removal projects that left deep grooving, and didn’t want it repeated.

After answering a few questions from the SMITH Selection Guide, the answers pointed to the SMITH LNX8 Rotary Eraser, outfitted with an Erase-it 24-pin cutter assembly. This setup was designed for his surface application of thermoplastic markings on aged asphalt.

Travis  ordered – and quickly received – the portable, walk-behind Line Eraser. He performed some practice work at his shop by setting the cut depth, pitch, anLNX8-angledd pressure to get the removal settings dialed in before going to the jobsite. After he was satisfied with the results, he asked the job inspector to meet him on location for approval. After a few adjustments, Travis pushed the machine over the removed stripes and in several passes, the stripes were gone, leaving a surface pattern that was pleasing to the DOT.

It only took the DOT 5 minutes to approve the removal method for his job. Travis then completed his work. A vacuum system contained all of the airborne dust, and the remaining inert debris was collected with a broom. Because the removal application was dry, new striping was immediately applied, and the road surface was opened to traffic.

The reason Rotary Erasing performs better than water in this case is due to the SMITH Eraser’s unique rotary planetary rotation, and variety of cutter tips that will control the cut depths to remove only the markings. Any sharp-edge pavement grooving when taking up stripes is also eliminated when the swivel wheels are engaged.  If the road condition is open and the markings are thick, using a waterblaster would cause surface undermining.

GA DOT test GA DOT test

Although Travis doesn’t do frequent DOT work, he now has a cost-effective DOT-approved removal solution, thanks to SMITH Erasers.

To get more details on Travis’s project, or other stripe removal jobs favoring rotary or drum-style removal systems, please contact your Authorized SMITH Representative.


Road Markings

Tuesday, May 5th, 2015

Road Markings: Do you want Fast or Forever?

road markings

When roadways are properly prepared through the SMITHing process, any road markings installed on the surface will last longer. The challenge: proper surface preparation practices take time and cost money. The question: is it worth it?

Well, do you want a fast application, or do you want one that will last forever?

Lets look at the facts:

Every time a roadway is closed for re-marking, the chance of a crash or fatality rises ten-fold. Every time a stripe has failed to perform its duty, the chance of a driver leaving their lane at night, or in rainy conditions, rises ten-fold. DOT state and local agencies invest in durable markings that last up to 25 times longer than painted markings, because they know the costs related to unmarked or inadequately marked surfaces causing traffic injuries and fatalities.

The cost of thermoplastic markings are up to five times more than traffic paint. These costs are justified, provided the markings remain in place for its entire engineered life. However, one of the leading contributing factors to reduced service life is poor condition of the pavement surface when the stripe is applied. Road surfaces can fail for a variety of reasons, and must be corrected prior to striping. Lack of funding, time restrictions, and inadequate specifications are the reasons why surfaces are not properly prepared, so road markings prematurely fail.

Simply adding up to 5¢ more per square foot of road markings (which includes the added time to get the surface properly prepared so the more-costly durable markings can properly anchor for a permanent application) is the answer. Spending a little more now will save more lives – and funding – in the future, since the durable road markings will last their entire engineered life, or even the life of the pavement surface in many situations.

Here’s how we can do it:

First, use these specifications to get the surfaces in proper condition through a simple SMITHing process, which is the highest level of surface-preparation readiness. The surfaces are cleaned, dried, profiled, and made sound through a mechanical method. To assure that surfaces are prepared properly requires detailed specifications written independently from the application portion of the contract (as a separate, paid line item). If it is not specified this way, the surface-preparation portion will not be completed properly, because of the time and expense required to do the job properly. Surface-prep specifications and installation compliance will cause jobs to take a little longer to assure the prep is done right to get the installations to last, but is well worth it in the long run.

Although we can’t have fast and forever when it comes to safety infrastructures, it is a considerably better alternative when it comes to saving lives.

Infrastructure Safety

Tuesday, May 5th, 2015

How Infrastructure Safety Is Proven To Reduce the Risk of a Crash


Each time a motorist turns on their ignition, they should consider this alarming fact: federal studies have proven that the most dangerous hours of a citizen’s day is their time behind the wheel. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a crash involving a large truck resulting in injury occurs every 10 seconds, with a fatality happening every 13 minutes.

Good driving habits and better safety infrastructure devices of striping, signs, and guardrails can save a motorist from being a statistic. A quick mistake on the road can lead towards an accident, injury, liability costs, and even a loss of life.  Motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians are unsafe on roads that are not adequately marked with the proper stripes, signs and guardrails. Plus, when the safety instructions of those markings and signs are ignored, they are not just hurting themselves, they are endangering others.

Most drivers fail to see the total impact of their actions. While the direct costs – such as vehicle repair and insurance payments – are easy to calculate, the indirect costs are severe. These numbers, including crash reports, time and money spent on litigation, as well as the loss of life, are proven to be 3 to 5 times more expensive than the direct costs of the accident.

*Source: Centers for Disease Control, “CDC Study Finds Annual Cost of Motor Vehicle Crashes Exceeds $99 Billion,” Journal of Traffic Injury Prevention.


A Look At A Few More Numbers:

  • The total cost of a crash with injuries can range from $25,500 to $4,500,000, and the CDC reports that medical costs and productivity losses from crashes are over $99 billion
  • The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates there were a total of 33,561 traffic fatalities in the United States in 2013
  • Speeding-related deaths nationwide account for nearly a third of all traffic fatalities each year, taking close to 10,000 lives
  • In 2012, there were 3,921 people killed, and 104,000 people injured in crashes involving large trucks

The best way to combat dangerous driving habits is through better safety infrastructure standards to keep motorists in their driving lanes. As a driver, you should ask yourself, “Are the roads on which my family and I drive to work safe with adequate markings, signs and guardrails to protect us from imminent danger? Can my and other drivers’ behaviors keep our full attention on safe driving activities, and away from distractions? Running stop signs? Veering off the road?”

Better safety standards are proven to be among the most cost-effective measures to keep drivers safe. In fact, a recent ATSSA study* concluded that each $1 million dollar investment in roadway safety saves over $40 million in costs.

*Source: ATSSA Study


What Can Safety Infrastructure Investments Do For Roadway users?

Brighter, bigger and more bountiful markings, signs, and guardrails are safety solutions that we all can afford. The Highway Trust Fund Bill helps pay for some of these safety measures with each 18¢ per gallon, however, there is up to a $15 billion annual shortfall in available revenues to make our roads safer. Simply doubling the gallon-per-gas tax will pay for the shortfall – and then some – to assure all roads become safer, and everyone safely stays in their lanes on the roads en route to their destinations.

Please write to your congressman so they can take action in this legislative session for a long-term safety infrastructure solution to our roads.

To find out more, please contact ATSSA or SMITH Manufacturing today.

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