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May 17, 2018

B.C. begins to roll out new highly reflective paint on provincial highways

VICTORIA — Lower Mainland drivers will soon have an easier time seeing road lines on provincial highways, as the B.C. government begins to roll out new highly reflective paint.

The Ministry of Transportation has begun painting more than 3,000 kilometres of roads in the Lower Mainland, Pemberton, Victoria and Duncan with a new specialized formula of paint that contains larger, higher-quality, reflective glass beads.

The beads will make it easier for drivers to see the yellow and white road lines when it’s dark and raining, and address long-standing concerns from municipalities that previous highway paint was hard-to-see and quick to wear off from the roads. Highway 1, the provincial highway that cuts through Metro Vancouver from Abbotsford to North Vancouver, will be one of the roads to get the new paint.

The changes are part of a $4-million boost to the ministry’s annual highway budget, which will help cover new, five-year maintenance contracts with private companies that will be required to paint 20 per cent more highway lines throughout the province, add second coats to areas where paint fades the quickest and better monitor the condition of highway paint on provincial roads.

“It’s absolutely money well-spent,” said Transportation Minister Claire Trevena. “It’s a bottom-line safety thing. It’s worth the investment because it’s not going to just make people safe, but ensure they are driving more safely because they can see where the lanes are and where the edge of the road is.”

Disappearing highway lines has been one of the Ministry of Transportation’s top complaints since 2010 when Ottawa banned the oil-based highway paint commonly used by most provinces and left them scrambling to find alternatives. B.C. switched to a lower-pollution alkyd paint for coastal and northern roads, and a water-based paint in the Interior, but both were less durable and neither lasted an entire year.


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