A road without stripes

A shortage of traffic striping paint has left road crews and transportation departments without the paint they need to separate northbound and southbound traffic, according to a report in the the New York Times.

The Associated General Contractors of America warned state and federal transportation officials last week that the shortage has “very significant ramifications for completion of highway projects this summer,” according to the New York Times report.

AGC has asked officials not to penalize contractors and suppliers if they are unable to finish projects on time because of a paint shortage that is beyond their control, according to the report.

According to the Times report, the scarcity stems in large part from the shortage of an obscure chemical compound called methyl methacrylate, one of the key ingredients in roadworthy paint, which must be sturdy, long-lasting and reflective. A major producer of the compound, Dow Construction Chemicals, had production problems this year at a plant in Deer Park, Tex.