WSDOT Testing Orange Striping for Highway Work Zones

For the first time in Washington State, orange lane striping will be added to white lane lines in an active highway work zone to test whether the brightly colored paint helps improve work zone awareness and safety.

[Above photo by WSDOT]

The Washington State Department of Transportation said highway contractor crews working on the Puget Sound Gateway Program’s State Route 167 Completion Project added orange striping in both directions of Interstate 5 between milepost 138 near Wapato Way and milepost 139 near Porter Way as those crews work in the roadway median of I-5 building two new bridges.

The Federal Highway Administration 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.

The agency said information gathered during this pilot project will be used by the FHWA to evaluate whether orange contrast striping is an effective method to improve highway work zone safety. WSDOT also noted that the new orange stripes will appear between the traditional white lane stripes to help alert drivers to the construction zone.

“[We are] committed to improving driver and worker safety,” said WSDOT Project Engineer Tom Slimak in a statement. “This includes carefully trying new strategies that could help improve safety for both workers and drivers in work zones.”

WSDOT added that it plans to conduct surveys and collect travel data to help determine whether the orange pavement markings increased awareness of the work zone and whether it affected driver behavior.

 “Work zone collisions don’t just affect drivers and construction crews. Motorists, their passengers, and passing pedestrians account for 95 percent of the people hurt in construction work zone accidents,” said Slimak. “We want to make sure everyone – drivers, our crews, and passersby – get home safely to their loved ones at the end of each day.”

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