What is line marking removal and why is it important?
Line markings are used on roads to aid motorist navigation. While the lines’ presence sometimes goes unnoticed, they play a crucial role in organising traffic flow and road safety.
For example, they tell people when to slow down, where to park, which lane to drive in and much more.
Why is line marking removal needed?
Line markings are integral to the function of roads. They provide intuitive instructions to drivers, which minimises collisions and boosts the steady flow of traffic. However, for these lines to operate as they should, sometimes, they need to be removed.
There are a few different scenarios that require line marking removal. The first is when the road markings become less visible due to natural wear and tear (often from passing vehicles and weather). When the lines become less noticeable, specialists must remove and replace them to prevent confusion among motorists.
Unfortunately, removal doesn’t always happen, as indicated in findings from the 2012 Lifelines Report from the Road Safety Marking Association, which found that almost a third of the length of Britain’s single-carriageway A-roads’ lines faded to the point of not meeting standards.
Other common circumstances that call for line marking removal include:
New cycle paths
Changing car park bays
Altering the function of a road
Road construction projects
Clearing the old marking is essential to avoid uncertainty in these cases. When the lines are correctly removed – with no paint left over - the roads look better and don’t confuse drivers. Afterwards, new line marking paint is used to create new markings.
The three methods of removing road markings
Correct removal requires specialised equipment and knowledge. Otherwise, the removal method might cause damage to the road and leave a shadow of the old road markings (also known as ghost markings).
Using a thermic lance is a traditional method of removing road lines. It involves specialist equipment that burns the markings off with extremely hot compressed air. Due to its specialist nature, only trained professionals can use a thermic lance. Also, it can only be used on bitumen surfaces. Any other, and it may cause damage.
Hydroblasting is a quick and efficient line-removing process best used for time-sensitive situations, such as if a busy road requires line removal quickly. It works by shooting high-pressure water onto the markings and using machinery to suck up the paint. As a result, no chemicals or tools are necessary, and the road is not damaged.
Scabbling is a popular, cost-effective option involving operating machinery with small tungsten blades, which scrape the paint off concrete or block paved surfaces. While it is budget-friendly, this method can harm certain road surfaces.
Read more: The problem with ghost markings
Ultimately, the best method for line marking removal depends on the type of road, budget, speed and individual preferences.
Line removal is an integral part of road maintenance. With the correct method, the job can be completed quickly and efficiently without causing damage to the road’s surface.