On Thursday evening workers installed new, separated bike lanes and bike boxes on Spring and Cedar streets in Silver Spring. The construction was surprisingly fascinating, as a series of live-tweets show. It turns out the latest method for painting bike lanes green is to use tiles instead of paint.
The Montgomery County Division of Transportation Engineering, @MoCo_DTE on Twitter, began tweeting out the process around 7:30 pm. Check it out:
Fun fact: the green markings we use in high-traffic areas are actually pre-formed tiles. They're melted into the asphalt atop sealant. pic.twitter.com/QPu82JvDtI— MC_DTE (@MoCo_DTE) September 14, 2017
The technical term for these tiles is "preformed thermoplastic." It's more durable than the spray-on epoxy "paint" that graces some of the region's other bike lanes.
This machine will heat the pavement and the green tiles to about 450°F to melt them into the asphalt. pic.twitter.com/3IJPRPC4md— MC_DTE (@MoCo_DTE) September 14, 2017
Grit is added by hand atop the hot material to add friction for skid resistance. pic.twitter.com/m3pI5EXbQE— MC_DTE (@MoCo_DTE) September 14, 2017
Symbols come pre-formed. Some assembly required. pic.twitter.com/uMy8G3knGV— MC_DTE (@MoCo_DTE) September 15, 2017
The tiles are square, but the intersection geometry isn't. So crews trim the green to fit inside the white lines. pic.twitter.com/eVyxrPMp8q— MC_DTE (@MoCo_DTE) September 15, 2017
We're gonna stop live-tweeting now, but the crew will be working all night. Cedar/Ellsworth intersection will be done by tomorrow morning. pic.twitter.com/ziBVo3TZMi— MC_DTE (@MoCo_DTE) September 15, 2017
Surprisingly, watching paint dry is actually pretty cool!