Reflective Pavement Markers Trash Our Roadsides

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Dear Washington Department of Transportation:

When you resurface our roads each year, you put in raised reflective pavement markers so we can better see the center line in the dark. But when winter comes, you scrape them all off the roads with your snow plows, and they sit there forever mangled, these mutilated pieces of spent DOT trash.

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What’s the point of installing plastic reflective pavement markers if you obliterate them a few months later?

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Now,  they simply reflect random routes off-road beckoning us to take misguided adventures into our roadside ditches.

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Didn’t you know that plastic pollution is one of the greatest problems endangering Puget Sound? Your scraped up plastic reflectors get run over by cars and break down into smaller and smaller reflective plastic bits as they slough off our hills and runoff with the rain into our ditches, headed for Puget Sound.

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These are the pieces of plastic marine debris we find washing up on our beaches. Perhaps there’s another alternative to reinstalling raised plastic reflectors on our roads each year, just to be scraped back off by your plows? I know other states, like Utah, use indented reflectors so snow plows don’t hit them.

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My neighbors try to be creative and reuse your smashed up reflectors on their stone walls so motorists don’t hit them at night. As for me, I’m just left to pick up your bits of reflective plastic trash as I reflect upon the waste our state tax dollars are creating, every time I walk down my road.

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6 thoughts on “Reflective Pavement Markers Trash Our Roadsides

  1. Thanks, Margaret. We get about one snow storm each year. And these become roadside plastics, thousands of bits, until they wash down into our waterways. These images above were taken along a hundred-foot stretch of road. Imagine, a quarter mile of this stuff! It’s ugly and so unnecessary.

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  2. That makes no sense at all, in any shape or form, what a waste! The only benefit I can is it keeps someone in a job! As Margaret says, not a problem here but our bugbear is patching up potholes every year in a makeshift manner that only reappear at the first frost instead of digging up the road and resurfacing properly every few years.

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  3. Well done! I hope your letter was written not just on the blog but to the DOT directly. And also as a Letter to the Editor of the local paper so all the taxpayers can consider calling to voice their agreement. You can also send an LTE to all the regional papers as well. They just might publish it for you.
    Never forget the words of Howard Zinn: Voting is easy and marginally useful, but it is a poor substitute for democracy, which requires direct action by concerned citizens.

    Liked by 1 person

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