Vehicles turn onto the ramp to head north on I-5 from 41st Street in the afternoon on Friday, June 2, 2023, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Vehicles turn onto the ramp to head north on I-5 from 41st Street in the afternoon on Friday, June 2, 2023, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Faded 41st Street lane markings eyed for refresh next year

A reader asked about the I-5 interchange lane striping after reportedly seeing lots of driver confusion.

Lane markings make order from chaos.

Those yellow and white lines show drivers where to go to avoid bumper carting into each other or worse.

But the striping isn’t as permanent as traffic that relies on it.

Blake Lerner, of Everett, noticed some critical lines on 41st Street at the I-5 interchange losing their luster lately to the point of being “basically all but non-existent.” Lerner said the lane markings are mostly worn away coming to 41st Street from northbound I-5 and heading west from the traffic signal. Sometimes he’s seen drivers misread the lanes and veer into the wrong direction or seemingly mistake a ramp to I-5 for the lane.

“If it’s raining or dark, the lack of any poles or reflectors makes it even harder to judge what lane you are in,” Lerner wrote to The Daily Herald.

He wanted to know if there are plans to redo the striping and add reflective material there.

As a city road, 41st Street pavement markings are Everett’s responsibility, public works spokesperson Kathleen Baxter wrote in an email.

Everett usually replaces the striping every three or four years with methyl methacrylate (called MMA by public works employees and others who use it, not to be confused with Mixed Martial Arts’ MMA). The plastic material is durable for use on pavement but turning tires, and especially studded tires, wear it down fast, Baxter wrote.

The ramps from and to I-5 are the responsibility of the state Department of Transportation, spokesperson Aisha Dayal said. Pavement markings, including reflective material, on the ramps are scheduled to get a refresh this year after having last been done in 2021.

The Texas Department of Transportation’s manual also notes traffic and weather are primary factors that affect pavement marking.

Everett Public Works plans to redo the dotted lines on 41st Street at I-5 in 2024 as part of its annual $200,000 plastic pavement marking work done by a contractor.

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