Material Shortage Could Drive Road Projects Off Course
By Colleen Chen, NEWS 9
OKLAHOMA CITY -- Contractors responsible for putting the yellow and white stripes on our roadways are worried about the future.
The material used in the paint is made up of Titanium Dioxide and Resin. There is a big shortage of the two materials. The Titanium is what makes the lines reflective at night.
"It's a crapshoot. We don't know when we're going to get it or how much is out there," said Greg Hietpas of Action Safety Supply in Oklahoma City.
The company has been striping roads since 1983.
Hietpas said he's never seen this shortage of materials in the history of the company.
"We used to order material by the truckload three, four, five at a time. Now we're getting one at a time once every two weeks," Hietpas said.
The barn that holds bags of striping material is now fairly empty.
"The barn has usually got 80 to 100 miles worth of material. Right now, it's probably got five. We don't know when our next shipment is coming," Hietpas said.
The shortage comes in the midst of high demand since several stimulus projects are going on and road construction in the summer is big business.
Oklahoma Department of Transportation Operation Director Casey Shell said he knows about the looming problem, but ODOT does not plan on going off schedule for the projects already assigned or the bidding on future projects.
"We certainly are aware of the problem. We'd like to complete projects without any hiccups or delays," Shell said.
ODOT has received materials from various contracting association making them aware of the shortage, which has already caused stalls in projects in states like Texas.
Hietpas said he is concerned about the financial impact on his business since contractors can be charged big fines for delays on completing projects. ODOT said they intends to accommodate deadlines on a case by case basis.
"We used to stay a step a head. Now we're just trying to stay one step behind unfortunately because of the material shortage. It's going to cut into our bottom line and that's not fun for anybody," Hietpas said.