Orange Stripes Painted to Protect Road Workers in Washington

The Washington State Department of Transportation hopes that orange paint will help keep workers and drivers safe on a state highway project.

The new orange stripes appear between the traditional white lane stripes to alert drivers to the construction zone. Crews are working in the median of I-5 building two new bridges for the State Route 167 Completion Project. The orange striping was placed in both directions of the interstate between milepost 138 near Wapato Way and milepost 139 near Porter Way where workers are next to high-speed traffic.

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

WSDOT will 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. The orange striping will remain in place throughout the summer until lane lines return to traditional white striping in the fall, according to WSDOT.

The Federal Highway Administration granted approval to WSDOT and its contractor, Guy F Atkinson Construction, to conduct a pilot project. Orange striping has also been tested in California, Kentucky, Texas and Wisconsin, according to WSDOT.

“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.”

The SR 167 Completion Project involves building six new miles of tolled highway between Puyallup and the Port of Tacoma.

 graphic showing orange striping to designate highway work zoneOrange contrast lane stripes have been added to the work zone in I-5 in Fife, Washington, for a pilot project with the Federal Highway Administration.Washington State Department of Transportation