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ATSSA – Why Stripers Should Charge for Surface Preparation

better than waterblasting

Open Letter for Stripers to Attend ATSSA Workshop

James S. Baron, Director of Communications for ATSSA, contacted me after reading the article Why Stripers Should Charge for Surface Preparation.”

Jim said, “Steven, our industry needs to do more to convince DOTs to consider this important surface-prep phase of the job with the same level of importance as the pavement marking itself.”   He then asked if I would help put together a workshop regarding roadway surface preparation prior to applying the pavement marking, to be given the upcoming ATSSA Convention/Traffic Expo in New Orleans.

After careful consideration, I volunteered for the workshop, as both moderator and panel expert, together with Mark W. Bott., P.E., Michigan DOT; Juan Arvizu, Pavement Marking, Inc.; Raymond Somich, Dow Chemical; and Michael Boeger, Potters Industries.

Title of the workshop: “Before the Striping: Roadway Surface Preparation: A time-consuming service that’s worth a charge because it extends the life of the pavement marking.”

Workshop description: Many times, a pavement-marking company will be awarded a contract, only to find out the surface preparation phase was an afterthought, if it had been given any consideration at all. As a result, time, money, and manpower are utilized – often times without financial compensation – to adequately prepare the surface for the pavement-marking application. This panel of experts will discuss the time and effort that goes into properly preparing a roadway surface before the pavement marking is applied, and why it should be a critical first phase of any pavement-marking job. The panel will also discuss ways to ensure that surface preparation is included in the contract.

As moderator, I will be contacting leading pavement marking contractors and DOT specifiers to share their “Prep-Before-Stripe” experiences for use in the program

Years ago, everyone thought my father was crazy when he first introduced durable thermoplastic markings as founder of Pave-Mark. This was a time when everyone was paying up to 20X less for traffic paint. Fifty years later, wider, brighter, and more-durable markings are now the standard, and are specified on most roadway marking projects.

Today, our industry should add the word deeper to the conversation. Deeper is the logical next step to elevate stay-in-place pavement-marking standards. Applying markings deeper assures a mechanical bond, rather than a more-unsure surface bond. Wider, brighter and deeper durable markings benefit everyone – the striper, the specifier, and the driving public.

As a former striper, I know that a properly applied stripe only lasted as long as the surface to which it was applied. When the stripe failed due to the structural integrity of the surface, I felt it was unfair to penalize the striper (me) due to the poor road-surface conditions that are out of the striper’s (my) control. Until the surface-preparation portion from the striping contract is a separate paid consideration, it is the belief of many that the prep work will not be done properly, and the stripe will continue to prematurely fail. Proper surface preparation is not just with a brush or a blower, but is obtained by changing the concrete or asphalt surface characteristics to a state that is properly clean, dry, sound, and profiled.

Getting surfaces properly prepared takes time, hard work, and money. Where will the money come from? What will be the work-zone opening delays? What tools are required to properly accomplish the work? What are the true costs and benefits when proper surface prep is (or is not) done? These are the tough questions that will be tackled during the workshop, and the results will help elevate standards that are long overdue for our industry.

A lot of times, stripers think they’re crazy, but in that craziness I see a true hero, and it’s the reason I volunteered for this workshop. Please also read my tribute to the Striper, “Heros of the Highways.

Thank you and best removal,

Steven Smith

SMITH Manufacturing | SSPS,Inc.
1610 S. Dixie Hwy | Pompano Beach, FL 33060+8913 USA
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