Oregon has been using recessed markers for approximately 10 years on all types of roads, west of the Cascade mountains. The recessed markers are protected from snow plowing operations and may last longer than raised markers, however, their life expectancy or effectiveness has never been evaluated. Standing water and/or debris has been observed in the recessed grooves which reduces the reflectivity of the markers. In addition, the effect of studded tire wear, abrasion from sanding materials, and traffic on markers has never been fully evaluated. Paint striping and raised markers are still good alternatives for marking state highways. Paint has a minimal life cycle cost with minimal traffic impacts during replacement. Skip lines enhanced by raised markers provide excellent lane delineation both visually and audibly. However, the reflectivity of the markers may drop as much as 70% in the first year. Because the costs of raised markers are around $250 more per year per mile than paint, they should only be used when it is cost effective or when needed to improve traffic safety. Skip lines enhanced by recessed markers cost approximately $100 per year per mile more than skip lines enhanced by raised markers. This cost is based on a three-year life for recessed markers, 12-year analysis period and a discount rate of 4%. Recessed markers also do not perform as well as raised markers. The initial performance is reduced strictly because they are recessed. The slots collect debris, rain and snow and when covered are ineffective. Indications are that a maintenance program to remove the debris would not be viable. We recommend that: 1) Because of the expense and poor performance, recessed markers should not be used by the Oregon Department of Transportation. Paint striping and raised markers are the best alternatives for marking our state highways. Consideration should be given to the selection of a marker or paint based on ADT and roadway alignment. 2) Durable markers should be considered for special applications.


  • English

Media Info

  • Features: Appendices; Photos; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 55 p.

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00720118
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: OR-RD-96-06
  • Created Date: Apr 10 1996 12:00AM