A look at striping Streetscape

Coastal Point • Laura Walter: Road workers  put in some care on the striping project.Coastal Point • Laura Walter: Road workers put in some care on the striping project.Newly constructed roads and sidewalks need hours, if not days, to set properly. But after that, the painted white lines can dry in just three minutes, noted road workers putting the finishing touches on Bethany Beach’s Streetscape project on April 17.

Yet, that high speed also needs high heat.

Ben Villegas used a blowtorch to heat a handcart of melted white thermoplastic to about 400 degrees. That’s much hotter than regular asphalt, and it’s not something one wants to touch.

“You only do it a couple times,” Brett Johns said ruefully. “Then you learn your lesson.”

They had already completed the striping for the parking spaces and were creating “pavement markings,” including the arrows and text for the Garfield Parkway turn lanes.

Although he could draw the arrows free-hand, Mark Johns opted to stencil a quick outline with spray paint, to ensure uniformity on identical arrows so closely placed on the roadway.

Next, Villegas pushed a heavy metal handcart over the outline, filling in the blanks with heavy white stripes. Although boxy, the cart nonetheless allowed him to see straight down, to accurately line everything up.

A cascade of granulated glass falls over the freshly laid thermoplastic, as fine as sand. Like heavy-duty glitter, the glass will shine when illuminated by car headlights.

Brett Johns swept the pavement clean for the next layer.

Because striping demands forecasts of 50 degrees or above, the four-man crew finished their work on a warm, sunny Friday afternoon.