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Shortage of paint will delay city's road line painting program

'This road paint supply shortage is another example of the negative effects the pandemic has had on so many different industries,' says mayor
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The COVID-19 pandemic, coupled with other factors, has impacted the City of Orillia’s annual road line painting program.

The city’s pavement marking contractor has notified the city that there is a delay in receiving supplies due to a shortage of road line paint. Damage to factories due to heavy winter storms earlier this year in the southern United States and COVID-19 restrictions and closures have affected the production of the raw materials used to produce the specialized road paint. 

The supply shortage is anticipated to result in the annual road line painting program being delayed and scaled down for 2021. Depending on the extent of the shortage and the availability of road paint received by the contractor, there may be areas within the city that will be unpainted in 2021.

“This road paint supply shortage is another example of the negative effects the pandemic has had on so many different industries. On top of the pandemic, severe weather earlier this year in areas like Texas has seriously impacted supplies. City staff have been in contact with direct suppliers and unfortunately, it’s an industry-wide issue that we are dealing with,” said Mayor Steve Clarke.

“The city will continue to work with contractors and suppliers to complete as much line painting as possible given the circumstances. We will focus our efforts and limited supply on priority areas of the City. I’d like to thank residents for your understanding and patience as we navigate this shortage.”

The city’s contractor has advised they anticipate they will receive limited quantities of paint supplies. The city has prioritized major routes with highest vehicular traffic, such as West Street, Coldwater Road and Atherley Road, to be completed first once supplies are received.

Staff also attempted direct contact with the paint supplier to expedite ordering. The supplier is prioritizing government applications; however, they were unable to provide projections as to when paint will be available. 

To help reduce some of the impacts of the paint shortage, Environment and Infrastructure Services staff are developing a plan to apply thermoplastic markings such as turn arrows and stop bars on major routes within the city. Thermoplastic markings can be applied by City staff and uses different materials than paint used for line painting. Full line painting cannot be completed by thermoplastic application as the costs are approximately 30 times more than line paint.

“We are doing everything we can to expedite the process to get paint, but unfortunately we are at the mercy of the supplier,” said Kyle Mitchell, Manager of Source Protection and Operations. “We are finalizing our orders for thermoplastic and hope to begin application in key areas early this summer.”

Historically, the first application of line painting starts within the first two weeks of June and a second application is applied beginning in September. In 2012, federal regulations were amended regarding volatile organic compound (VOC) concentration limits for traffic marking coatings.

Since then, the City of Orillia, like other municipalities, has been using waterborne traffic paint which has proven less durable and requires annual application. 

Status updates regarding line painting will be provided as more information becomes available through the city’s website and social media channels.