Report on line marking

A draft report into the poor state of line marking on roads by teams from the City of Cape Town and contractors has found that in some cases paint is diluted with thinners to make painting by hand “easier”.

The investigation was done by the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS), and a report, dated Wednesday October 25, was submitted to the City’s transport and urban development committee.

The SABS was appointed in August last year to do paint sampling and site inspections, although it only got going with the investigation in May this year, the report states.

Some of the draft findings are that the preparation and cleaning of surfaces before painting are “generally not adequate” and that paint is being diluted with thinners, which affects both its performance and the time it takes to apply.

“While thinning of paint is contrary to the paint manufacturer’s instructions, it is reportedly being done to make the application of the paint by hand easier,” the report says.

The report says, in some cases, paint is applied onto wet or damp surfaces during winter; glass beads are not always used and spray applications are done in a single coat which gives “an inconsistent finish over inadequately prepared surfaces”.

“The results of the chemical testing of the paints showed that for the aspects tested, the paints met the SABS standard,” says the report. The final report from the SABS, with recommendations, was due on Monday November 13. The draft report says there is “a major problem in the standard of workmanship that is being carried out by some of the City’s line marking teams in the assets management and maintenance department”.

In conclusion, the report says road marking staff have to be “retrained” by the end of this year.

As far back as September 2015, the City said it was launching an investigation into fading road and line markings.

At the time, mayoral committee member for transport, Brett Herron said they had noticed “that line markings across the city fade faster in some areas” and the SABS had been asked to investigate the quality of paint being used.

“Under ideal conditions, it is expected that the road and line markings will last at least two years, but the paint may fade sooner in areas with high traffic volumes,” he said.

The statement said the paint from the City’s suppliers was SABS approved and contractors had to use SABS-compliant paint.

“We can improve the safety on our road with good quality line markings and road signage that are visible, in particular at night and in inclement weather,” said Mr Herron.

He said the City had spent R42 million in 2014/2015 on road and line markings, and the investigation would help to make sure the City “receives value for money”.

“An installation trial, following from the SABS’s recommendations, is due to take place later this week if all goes as planned,” said Mr Herron.