Bismarck street painting

Published: May. 21, 2019 at 8:38 PM CDT
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One of a series of projects on Bismarck streets wrapped up Tuesday. The approximately $200,000 plan includes a new layout for major roads.

Road construction is a common part of every summer. This year, it's not just the surface that's different. The lane configuration is changing too.

"What we do every year is have a street maintenance program. In that street maintenance program, we go in, like the street was overlaid last year and put down a temporary pair of markings over the winter. Then over the spring time, we come back and put in the permanent pavement markings," said Mark Berg, Bismarck traffic engineer.

While some traffic is getting more elbow room, other streets have a confusing first impression. On a half mile stretch of North 4th Street, a center lane to turn either way. Only the problem is the turning options are either someone's driveway or a grove of trees.

So why did the city paint turn lanes where there's nowhere to turn?

"It's more of a safety than it is an operations or capacity. We're trying to give them a refuge to make that turn. Otherwise, you have the potential to create rare-type accidents and things of the nature," said Berg.

Proponents or opponents may just have to get used to the new markings, because the new paint is meant to last at least 10 years.

"The thickness of this is much thicker than paint. We normally paint at about 15 mils, where this is about 60 mils thick. So it's there and it wears really well," said Berg.

The final touches for this road will happen later this year when it is chip sealed.