Are they working? Motorists in Milwaukee the first in the country to be exposed to orange lane markings

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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.

16 comments

  • Logical Lenny

    That is a terrible survey question. “are they making a difference”? I would answer YES they are, because it makes the lanes HARDER to see… but a simple answer of “yes” would suggest otherwise. Maybe you should have worded the question as “do they improve visibility?”… because as it stands, your survey question doesn’t really get an actual result.

  • josh

    i can not see those dark lines as well as other drivers.i like the white ones it would better if they brought back the reflectors on them. when it rains its easier to see the reflectors and dry its easier to see the white. also i dont like how they have the black line with the white on top. WHITE WITH REFLECTORS

    • Kari

      Josh you are absolutely right, I was going to day the exact same thing! They need to engineer how to get the reflectors into the pavement so they aren’t destroyed each winter by the salt and plows. WHITE LINES WITH REFLECTORS!

  • tom griner

    when they get rubber on them they are harder to see I think , they could be a lighter orange or yellow would be better ,and some thicker paint or some reflective in them , when they were new yes they were not bad , the end of the first week they were not near as good , now they are almost worthless

  • PJ

    I do not like these Orange lines and with the orange cones along with them it, very confusing while driving. That what I noticed and I drive it all the time. It also makes it annoying seeing orange everywhere. People are all over the road more then with the white lines. Just make the white, lines more reflective and there wouldn’t be so much confusion. Just my opinion.

  • Vern from Vernon

    I can see the orange lines because they were just painted. Most other roads however, don’t have any paint at all left on them. I guess there wasn’t enough money left in the governor’s “surplus” to buy some paint last summer. #itsnotworking

  • Kenneth

    I can see them, but it’s too dangerous. With the construction they have to test it out on those roads? I was driving, apparently there was changing, I couldn’t tell because the lines were hard to see. Luckily no one was around, I was all over the road trying to figure out where I should be. This is the worse city I lived in, every where you go there is road construction and detours, it’s terrible. The engineers where I work at are not exactly the brightest engineers I have been around, at one point I was thinking they use to work for the city of Milwaukee.

  • Chris Lucas

    Love the Orange markings. So much easier to see. Especially with the salt film or wet, rainy surface. Change is good in this case!

  • weizer2

    Why can’t they put down bots dots like they do in CA? If you go over the line you can feel it and adjust accordingly.

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  • Neil

    Impossible to see these orange lines at night in the rain. These things are a accident waiting to happen!!! Keep the white and add a better reflective property to it.

  • Kairi Gainsborough

    It is really interesting that Wisconsin is trying out a different color for the lines on their roads. I would be really interested in seeing for myself if the change makes a difference. I know when the roads are wet at night, it is difficult to see the typical white lines. Maybe more frequent touch ups to the paint would work as well.

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