Sunday, June 23, 2024

Wellington Council seeks to bust ghost markings on city streets

Ghost markings left behind on roads may soon be a thing of the past, with Wellington City Council trying new treatments to remove old marks in a faster, more effective and cheaper way.

The Council says it has heard complaints over the years asking for better management of road marking across the city when they are changed. 

When the layout of a road changes in the city, there are occasionally ‘ghost markings’ left behind. 

In the past, one method to remove the old lines would be to resurface the street – a task that would be costly and time consuming, says Council Transport and Infrastructure Manager Brad Singh.

“We’ve tried painting over the redundant markings with black paint, to covering them with long life black out material such as a cold applied plastic.”

“And we’ve had to move away from removing the old markings by water blasting them off as it leaves an impression in the road and fills with water in wet weather – under head lights at night they still reflect like a road marking.”

Mr Singh says all the treatments have their pros and cons and all left some impression of the old markings behind.

“More recently we have been covering markings with a long-life product that starts to blend with the road over time and permanently covers the original marking rather than the marking showing through over time as happens with black paint as it wears off,” he said.

“This treatment however still looks like a marking in certain lights.

“The cheapest method is to paint over the lines with black paint and this is used in situations where we expect the changes to be temporary, such as at road works sites or when we expect to come through to resurface the road within a year.”

Now, the team have two different promising treatments that they are trialling that will properly remove the marks from the road. 

The two treatments will be trialled on Bowen and Whitmore Street.

“On Bowen Street, we will be using a vapour treatment that is similar to sand blasting but less destructive. On Whitmore Street, we’ll be trialling an emulsion technique which blends the marks into the road and doesn’t cause any destruction, with a longer lasting effect,” said Mr Singh.

He says Council recognised how the markings affected safety on the roads.

“We recognise these shortcomings of ghost markings across the city and have been looking at trials for when the weather improves and the road temperatures increase, which provides the best conditions to apply the new treatments.” 

The trials will begin over the next few weeks dependant on the weather, and the results will be compared to figure out the best solution, Mr Singh said.

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