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County road striping contract approved
Stripes on roads a safety issue
county road work 2021 map
This map shows the approximately 101 miles of county blacktops that will be overlaid and/or chip sealed this year. The work is concentrated in the southwest corner of the county. County Works Director Darren Williams said work has started and they have about 14 miles left to overlay before the sealing will begin in September. After that is done and the excess gravel is broomed from the roads in mid October, Straight Line Striping Inc. of Grand Island, Neb. will paint edge and center lines which will take about two weeks. - photo by COURTESY ART

The Barton County Commission Monday morning approved a $100,000 bid from Straight Line Striping Inc. of Grand Island, Neb., to handle the 2021 highway striping project on approximately 101 miles of county roads. The county has historically outsourced the striping and Straight Line has handled the project for several years, County Engineer Barry McManaman said.

The cost was included in the Road and Bridge Budget as an expected operating expense. 

Road striping is done on a rotating basis for Barton County after the Road and Bridge Departments finishes its overlay and chip seal work for the year. Road crews seal about 100 miles and overlay about 40 miles per year, with work this year concentrated in the southwest part of the county.

New yellow center-line striping and solid white edge-line striping is then required. All striping is performed to specifications meeting Kansas Department of Transportation standards and the Federal Highway Administration’s Manual of Traffic Control Devices. 

Glass beads are applied at the time of paint application to facilitate reflectivity of the stripes, McManaman said. 

“The final step in that process every year is to go out and re-stripe the road,” he said.

They went out for bids and opened them on July 13, advertising the project and reaching out to contractors. They only received one bid, that was from Straight Line, submitting a proposal for $107,972.53. 

There are no local firms that can handled this work, McManaman said.

The actual quantity of paint markings cover 1.45 million lineal feet of striping. “So there’s a lot of stripe out there,”  

“That’s just a lot of money to put down on paint, but what we were told was because the county has always done it, we really don’t have a choice,” District 5 Commissioner Jennifer Schartz said. “We have to continue to put down the lines or we will be held at a higher liability risk if an accident takes place because we’ve always had it and there’s not a good reason not to do it.”

“I think the taxpayers really want the stripes,” especially at night or when the weather is bad, District 1 Commissioner Kirby Krier said. “It’s money well spent. It’s very much a safety issue.”

District 3 Commissioner Shawn Hutchinson asked if striping was something the county crews could handle.

He was told it wouldn’t be cost effective. It requires expensive specialized equipment (the truck can cost a $500,000), is only done once a year and a lot of training would be involved.

Work will begin as soon as Road and Bridge finishes and will take a couple weeks, McManaman said. The striping should be completed by the end of October.

There have been supply chain shortages, but that shouldn’t impact the project here.

county road work 2021 pic
As it has in the past, the Barton County Commission Monday approved contracting with Straight Line Striping Inc. of Grand Island, Neb., to stripe the county blacktops that are being sealed this summer. - photo by Great Bend Tribune file photo