Road paint shortage may put brakes on freeway projects

You know those highway strips? The yellow and white lines on the highway that keep your car in the right lanes? Well, those lines are made by using a reflective road paint. But a shortage of a chemical used to make that paint could bring several highway construction projects to a halt.

Road crews have been complaining about the shortage to the Associated General Contractors of America.

From CNN:

"It's not like this is Home Depot, with stacks of stockpiled paint," said AGC spokesman Brian Turmail. "A lot of paint producers are distributing only 50% of what they did last year." And typically, if the paint isn't down, the job isn't done, and the contractor can't get paid."Depending who you speak with, this could be an eight-week problem, or a six-month one," he added. "We're hoping for the former but preparing for the latter."

Roads with faded stripes do pose safety concerns. A 2008 study from the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials showed that 60% of all traffic fatalities are caused by straying drivers.

The agency says it is aware of the situation and has requested information from states on the shortage reports.

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Daryl Paranada is the associate web producer for Marketplace overseeing all daily website content and production, as well as producing multimedia features -- including the popular economic explainer series Whiteboard -- and special projects. Follow him on Twitter @darylparanada.


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