Road Reflector Issues Resurface

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COLUMBIA - The issue of road reflectors keeps resurfacing for many Mid-Missouri drivers.

Some KOMU viewers commented on the visibility of stripes on many main roads in Columbia and Jefferson City.

Busy roads and blurry lines; that's how many Mid-Missourians describe roads like Providence, Rangeline and I-70.

"The non-reflective paint that's used it seems it on the road said it's really hard to see where you're at in relation to the lanes," said Columbia resident Matt Foster.

Matt Foster now calls Columbia his home, but didn't always.

"Being from Kentucky originally where I'm from you know they use reflective pants that was kind of a shock to me when I first moved here so I can imagine it's troublesome for people especially traveling through town," said Foster.

"The reflectivity is actually not from the paint," said MoDOT engineer Mike Schupp. "It's actually from when we put glass beads on top of the stripe itself embedded into the paint and that reflects the light of the traveling vehicle."

The many hours MoDOT spent removing snow could be part of the cause

"Whenever you're plowing that road because you have a lot of snow it wears the beads out of the paint," said Schupp.

And rainy days didn't help MoDOT reach it's goal of having the roads striped like the flags by Memorial Day.

"Obviously when it rains as much as it did this spring we did not reach that goal but were working toward reaching in right now," said Schupp.

Ironically, rain now makes the reflectivity problem worse.

"I have noticed especially when it's raining," said Foster.

"Everything you experience during the day is just compounded by the darkness," said resident Molly Greenwood. "I really think that a lot more lines and continuous updates would really help."

MoDOT updates the lines one time a year with waterborne paint.

"It's kind of always been my thought that maybe it's just cost-efficient," said Foster.

Foster is right. Waterborne paint is one of the cheaper, yet more popular paints according to the Department of Transportation.

And though you might think the water-based paint is a reason for the fading lines, the DOT says it is just as durable as oil paints and more eco-friendly. MoDOT spends $2 million dollars a year on materials alone to re-stripe roads.