WAUWATOSA (WITI) -- The Wisconsin Department of Transportation is using bright orange paint on parts of I-94 to help drivers navigate more effectively this winter. Last week, we saw snow for the first time in 2015 -- so how well are those orange lines working?
The orange lines are part of a pilot program to see whether using orange paint helps make the lines more visible for drivers. Milwaukee motorists are the first in the country to be exposed to the orange lines.
On December 2nd, 2014 the Wisconsin DOT put down a fresh coat of paint on I-94. In three separate locations near the Zoo Interchange, reflective orange paint replaced the traditional white and yellow lane markings. It's an effort to help drivers see the lanes better.
"We`ve been getting some positive reports back that the orange is easier to see through the salt and film residue that it leaves behind on the roadway," Wisconsin DOT Regional Communication Manager Michael Pyritz said.
Pyritz says last year's snow, ice and salt prompted complaints from motorists -- especially in construction zones where some lanes shift from their normal traffic patterns.
"You really could not see the lane markings. It was very, very difficult," Pyritz said.
The orange paint is putting Milwaukee on the map.
The Federal Highway Administration granted permission for the Zoo Interchange team to test it out. Milwaukee is the only place in the country where you'll find dashes and lines in orange.
"We are aware of some other nations that have used this. New Zealand. We had some experiences up in Canada where they were able to show us some footage," Pyritz said.
World of Beer in Wauwatosa, a tavern that opened on North Mayfair Road in August 2014 as construction was occurring near Highway 100 and Bluemound Road is still hurting as the Zoo Interchange construction project continues.
"We`ve got the Bluemound bridge closed right now. That`s impacting us over 45," World of Beer Operating Partner Adam Buttina said.
Buttina says he hasn't noticed the orange markings during his daily commute to work.
"Maybe it's all the snow coverage. I'm not sure," Buttina said.
Buttina says he's been too busy worrying about his bottom line.
"I think it impacted our sales and overall business pretty greatly," Buttina said.
Beginning this week, the Wisconsin DOT will be soliciting feedback through an online survey. The feedback will help the DOT determine whether the orange paint makes things any better for drivers.