In an attempt to create a safer environment in work zones, the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) is adding orange lane striping to white lane lines in an active work zone to test whether the brightly colored paint helps improve work zone awareness and safety.
On June 7, WSDOT contractor crews working on the Puget Sound Gateway Program’s State Route 167 Completion Project will add orange striping in both directions of Interstate 5 between milepost 138 near Wapato Way and milepost 139 near Porter Way.
The orange stripes will be between white stripes to help alert drivers to the construction zone. Crews on the completion project are working in the median of I-5 building two new bridges.
“WSDOT is committed to improving driver and worker safety,” said WSDOT Project Engineer Tom Slimak. “This includes carefully trying new strategies that could help improve safety for both workers and drivers in work zones.”
The agency plans on collecting data to help determine whether the orange pavement markings increased awareness of the work zone and whether it affected driver behavior.
In order to add the orange striping will require overnight ramp and lane closures.
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) granted approval to WSDOT and its contractor, Guy F Atkinson Construction, to conduct a pilot project using the orange striping. Orange striping has also been tested in California, Kentucky, Texas and Wisconsin. Information gathered during WSDOT’s pilot project will be used by the FHWA to evaluate whether orange contrast striping is an effective method to improve highway work zone safety.