North central Ohio's highways are sporting a new look with wider, longer-lasting pavement markings that will make driving safer.
A pavement micro surfacing project along Interstate 71 in northern Medina County concluded last week featuring the new, six-inch wide edge and lane markings on the heavily traveled interstate.
Throughout the month of October, the remaining portions of I-71 in southern Medina and Wayne Counties will receive the upgraded pavement markings. The lane and edge line markings on I-71 in Ashland and Richland counties will be widened beginning in the spring of 2013.
The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) now requires 6-inch edge and lane line pavement markings on all interstates, interstate look-alikes, and rural, high-speed, multi-lane divided highways. The new markings are 50 percent wider than the previous 4-inch markings and have a high level of reflectivity, which will improve visibility for motorists, especially in wet or night driving conditions. By this time next year, all interstates and interstate look-alike routes in ODOT District 3's eight county region of north central Ohio will feature the 6-inch edge and lane lines.
The Missouri Department of Transportation documented a 24 percent reduction in nighttime serious injury and fatal crashes after embarking on a program in 2006 to improve their roadways. Their research determined that a significant safety improvement could be made by simply increasing the width of pavement markings from 4 to 6 inches on freeways. A 22.4 percent total reduction of interstate crashes in Ohio would translate in to an average of 22 fatal and 1,700 injury crashes reduced each year.