UDOT sees progress in making freeway lines easier to see

Dec 8, 2023, 1:28 PM | Updated: May 30, 2024, 10:02 am

cars drive past utah freeway lines updated with contrast striping...

Contrast striping, or what workers call "tiger tails," is when they widen the white line, paint a black line in between and put reflective tape over them. (Utah Department of Transportation)

(Utah Department of Transportation)

Editor’s note: A previous version of this story stated that the initial project would cost $20 million. This story has been updated to reflect the correct upfront cost, which will be $26 million. 

SALT LAKE CITY— Hard to see white lines dividing lanes on the freeway are slowly becoming a thing of the past. 

Utah Department of Transportation Spokesperson John Gleason told KSL NewsRadio Friday they’ve finished upgrading the lines on I-15 between Payson and Lehi. They’re currently trying to finish some off-ramp work before winter weather gets stronger.

The Utah Legislature approved $26 million in funding for the project to make Utah’s freeway lines easier to see. The initial project will cost $26 million. Each year, maintenance will cost $6 million.

How do they work?

Contrast striping, or what workers call “tiger tails,” is when they widen the white line, paint a black line in between and put reflective tape over them. The tape is ideally most resilient to snowplows.

The idea is that the black versus white lines create a contrast, making it easier for drivers to pick them out in bad weather.

Gleason said the tape has a four-year warranty, but they can sometimes last upwards of six years.

“We’ve had a lot of positive feedback [from] people just really noticing what a difference it makes in terms of being able to see the lines,” Gleason told KSL NewsRadio.

Where are the upgraded freeway lines showing up next in Utah?

The bad news is that UDOT can’t continue the upgrades to other Utah freeways until winter has wrapped up since this project involves wet paint and tape.

Gleason said they are planning on picking back up in March or April, ideally when the weather starts cooperating.

UDOT plans to then start taking on freeways in Salt Lake, Davis, Tooele and Summit Counties. Gleason also said this would take place in Weber County at some point as well.

“We want to make sure we’re on the cutting edge of this technology and these methods…to make the striping as visible as possible,” Gleason said. “It’s going to really be a great investment in safety.”


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UDOT sees progress in making freeway lines easier to see