The Tennessee Department of Transportation (TennDOT) had a challenge to remove a thermoplastic line that was improperly placed on a new friction coarse asphalt roadway on Rte. 67 in Carter County near Elizabethton, Tenn. TennDOT did not want to grind the line as this would cause significant permanent damage to the new road surface. However, the markings had to be removed to allow for a passing zone.

This is only one of several instances that require pavement markings to be removed. Other common reasons are changed traffic configurations and maintenance of existing markings which would include the removal and replacing of new markings.

Around this time Waterblasting.com contacted TennDOT to offer more education and training on the ultra-high-pressure water blasting method for removing pavement markings. As a result of those discussions, the misplaced marking challenge was brought up and Waterblasting.com proposed to provide a demonstration of the latest version of their stripe removal equipment called the "Stripe Hog" to demonstrate the effectiveness of the removal of any type of marking including thermoplastic on any surface. The date was set and there were several TennDOT personnel in attendance as well as several striping contractors.

The challenges of pavement-marking removal vary but a few of them are the damage to the surface and conflicting markings created as a result of the attempted removal. Sometimes the removed line can appear to be more evident than the new line with a wet surface or with the right lighting conditions.

The results of the removal demonstration were fantastic. The Stripe Hog stripe-removal system by Waterblasting.com removed the misplaced markings quickly and without damaging the surface. If fact one contractor that was present said, "You cannot even tell that there was removal done here today. You would have to get down close to the road and know exactly what you were looking for to even come close to seeing where the removal had taken place."

Steve Borden, operations specialist supervisor at TennDOT offered the following in a letter sent to Waterblasting.com:

"My staff was amazed at the results produced by your water blasting system. According to James Phillips, Randy Bussler and the others in attendance, there was no damage done to the asphalt roadway. The 90 - 120 mil thermoplastic line was removed entirely leaving no conflicting marks on the roadway. One of the most impressive aspects of the Stripe Hog system is that even though it uses high pressure water to remove the stripes, there was no visible water present in the process thanks to your reclamation process. The manner in which the vacuum system reclaims all of the water and debris being generated is quite remarkable. This allowed the paint crew to paint just 10-15 minutes after the Stripe Hog passed by. The Stripe Hog was also very fast. Even the contractors that were present conceded that grinding would have taken much, much longer to complete.

We have found this system to be quite remarkable in its versatility. It's ability to remove paint, thermoplastic, epoxy and preformed tapes quickly from grooved concrete or asphalt surfaces without causing any significant damage is impressive. Leaving a clean and almost dry surface immediately was a pleasant bonus. Your crew removed over 7,000 linear feet of line in two different locations and did a phenomenal job.

My staff has advised me that this pavement marking removal process is superior to the current method of grinding pavement markings that our department is currently using. They have found this to be the most efficient way to remove any type of pavement markings being used. The Stripe Hog is first class and does an excellent job."

For more information on the Stripe Hog, please visit http://waterblastingtechnologies.com