Shody Road Striping Blamed on "Perfect Storm"

Nation-wide road paint shortage costing cities

By Damian Trujillo
|  Thursday, Aug 19, 2010  |  Updated 10:42 AM PDT
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Shody Road Striping Blamed on "Perfect Storm"

Damian Trujllo

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You may have noticed there's a lot of road re-paving going on around the Bay Area. In San Jose alone, projects doubled this year, to 185 miles of construction work.

 Part of the credit goes to stimulus funds, but the projects are creating what city engineers call "the perfect storm" that is forcing workers to use inferior supplies.

 "We have very a extensive shortage of products we use to do our roadway markings and striping," said Kevin O'Connor, San Jose's deputy director of the Department of Transportation.

 The paint shortage is partly due to the increase in road repairs, and production delays from paint manufacturers overseas.

 "I'm concerned about it. But it's not something we're able to control," said O'Connor.

 So re-paved streets across the nation are getting by with temporary striping, costing the cities thousands of dollars more, in material and labor.

 Bob Hart lives down the street from an elementary school on Bryan Avenue and is worried about the crosswalk across from his home, which has the thin, temporary striping.

 "I wonder when something's going to happen," said Hart. "This happens to be an intersection where people tend to slide on through. A 'Hollywood stop.'"

 O'Connor doesn't know when the permanent striping will go up on Bryan Avenue.

 And the paint shortage might be around for another year.

 "We really ask residents to be patient with us," said O'Connor, even though his agency is not to blame.

 Meanwhile, work orders continue to pour into the San Jose Department of Transportation. And engineers will complete those projects, with temporary striping.

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