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Watch for line painters and orange cones

This news story was published on April 27, 2012.
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by Matt Marquardt –

MASON CITY – Take caution on Mason City streets over the next 7-10 days.

A Des Moines line painting company is in town painting the pavement and streets here and there have restricted access.  You will typically encounter a road blocked on one side as the the crew works; they will leave several orange cones to block off the area as the paint drys and they move on to the next location.

(PHOTO: Intersection of South Delaware Ave and Second Street SW; north lane is blocked off at about 10 am despite heavy traffic in the area.)

Drivers are left to more or less fend for themselves and depend on the courtesy of the “other guy” as they “go around” the painted area and venture onto the wrong side of the street to go on their way.

No persons with caution flags or “flaggers” have been encountered at any of the busy street locations so far, despite concerns for safety expressed some weeks ago by City Administrator Brent Trout as a reason why city staff could not complete the work themselves.

The city has not had a press release asking drivers to take caution as the work is completed.  The painting seems to be getting done during the hours of about 7 am to 4 pm.

One caller expressed concern over the traffic flow on Pennsylvania Ave and State Street as the project was being completed earlier this week.

“It’s a mess, it’s dangerous, someone is going to be seriously hurt,” the man said.  “You can only drive on one side of the road and there is no one directing traffic.  You are at the mercy of the ‘other guy.'”

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17 Responses to Watch for line painters and orange cones

  1. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    April 27, 2012 at 4:39 pm

    Maybe the City Administration and Council can discuss this on the next trip to Washington, DC. Really, Matt. You seem to pick the strangest windmills to tilt after.

    • anonymous Reply Report comment

      April 27, 2012 at 5:44 pm

      What’s so strange about this? Thank goodness Matt is attempting to look out for the citizens in Mason City. Lord knows the Glob or any other media in this town doesn’t. We are always hearing about supporting our local economy, support our local businesses, etc. What the heck??? Our city hires a non local company to do a job that could have been done either by the city, or how about their so called incentives??? Why not help a local contractor purchase the equipment to get this job done? Bookie and Trout seem to want to just give money to certain businesses here, so why not in this instance? An outrageous amount of money was paid to an out of town company to paint lines on the street. Really??? There are way too many people in charge of this city with their heads up their butts.

  2. anonymous Reply Report comment

    April 27, 2012 at 3:52 pm

    There was absolutely no excuse for hiring an outside company for this job. Shame on Trout and Bookmeyer. I have lived in Mason City my whole life and it was always done by the street department years ago and I don’t understand why it still isn’t. It’s time for Trout to go along with his inflated salary.

  3. LVS Reply Report comment

    April 27, 2012 at 3:16 pm

    What I saw in use was a standard air compressor with hoses and a paint sprayer mounted on a truck. It was something that could have been installed in about 30 minutes. As far as special equipment, all I saw was some wooden patterns that anyone with a hammer and tape measure could have made in 15 minutes. It is absolute BULL CRAP that local people were not used for this work. If the street department didn’t have time we could have used temporary LOCAL workers and still saved most of the money. Even Trout and the Mayor could have been trained to do the job with minimal effort.

    • Reggie Reply Report comment

      April 27, 2012 at 5:03 pm

      LVS, what you saw was the painting of the small areas. This company also has a big truck with a paint nozzle mounted on the front to do long white and yellow lines.This truck unfortunately would cost big bucks. Could the City crews do it? Absolutely, but it would take much longer.

      • 50 miles south Reply Report comment

        April 28, 2012 at 1:12 am

        like we talked about a month ago or so. I believe the city streets and the state highways have two different set of rules regarding flagmen, and safty. I believe you should see those flagmen on the state highway portion of the job. one thing talked about back then was why not divide up the bid between city streets and state highways. the truck you are talking about will be used on the state highways, where it will be much safer and faster to use. therefore more efficient to hire the DM company. that truck may not be used on city streets. the city streets painted in the video is being painted by a comercial paint gun like the one I saw sell in Mason City for only $55. I have used paint guns like these and it is not brain surgery. however I see that they only applied one coat of paint. obviously another coat would last longer, but would not double the bid cost, as much of the cost is in the setup.

      • Observer Reply Report comment

        April 28, 2012 at 6:47 am

        A second coat of paint on pavement is not really going to last longer. The more you raise the paint on the pavement, the more chances of it being chewed up by a snow plow.

        This is why it is not recomended to use thermoplastic markings in this area. Thermoplastics will usually last about five years compared to the one or two years with painted lines.

        I must add that in my observations, there was not sufficient prep done to certain areas, mostly curbing, that was painted.

        Also, the high productivity those machines afford, cannot be matched by lesser equipment.

  4. Linda at the Lake Reply Report comment

    April 27, 2012 at 2:24 pm

    I really doubt that line painting in Mason City would have anything to do with a stupid right turn lane in Clear Lake.

    Pete Hjelmstead is a spokesperson (Information Specialist) for the IDOT, not a traffic engineer.

  5. Echo Reply Report comment

    April 27, 2012 at 12:50 pm

    Another great decision by our city administrator. I listened to Brent Trout when he explained the need to hire outside contractors to paint lines in this town and after listening to him one would have thought special equipment and training would be required to paint lines. After spending a little while watching the crew they hired paint I came to the conclusion that city employees should be performing this task and with a little special training even administrator Trout could paint these lines. That way at least he would earn a little of the 130,000 a year we pay him. As far as traffic control or lack of, who within the city is is charge of overseeing this project and this crew and why aren’t they and ultimately Brent Trout ensuring public safety and safe work zone practices are used.

    • Bond Reply Report comment

      April 27, 2012 at 3:47 pm

      Trout earnsd $150,0000 a year, plus a $450/month car allowance.

      • Echo Reply Report comment

        April 27, 2012 at 5:55 pm

        “Bond” thank you on the correction on trouts salary. The people of Mason City are getting ripped off by this guy and his boss’s the city council seem to let him get by with it.

  6. reggie Reply Report comment

    April 27, 2012 at 11:08 am

    Matt you are right.This is pathetic traffic control.Someone should read the Specs, usually they would have to follow the MUTCD which states how you have to sign an area. No warning signs or anything.

  7. Peter L Reply Report comment

    April 27, 2012 at 10:59 am

    They better attend to that stupid right turn only lane on Highway 18 (122) in Clear Lake, that forces the two lanes into one to get thru the stoplight. It’s one of the top ten worst traffic flow decisions I’ve seen around North Iowa. I’m not a big fan of those head on collision waiting to happen turn-ins by Rib Crib / Ruby Tuesdays either. Who in the hell is directing traffic flow around here anyway? Is that you Pete Hjelmstead? For god’s sake, do something about this ridiculousness before someone dies.

    • Bond Reply Report comment

      April 27, 2012 at 3:45 pm

      Peter, the 4-lane to 3-lane conversion has resulted in almost no accidents whatsoever. Prior to the conversion project, there were serious personal injury accidents all the time, including a fatality at the fareway intersection.

      • Anonymous Reply Report comment

        April 27, 2012 at 3:56 pm

        I agree. That was one of the smartest moves that IDOT has done along US18. Getting left turning traffic out of the flow so they are not rear-ended was a wise move.

  8. Anonymouse Reply Report comment

    April 27, 2012 at 10:49 am

    What I don’t understand here is … Why on Pierce Ave North from Hwy122 to 12th Street did they skip painting the lines when then enter an intersection?

  9. Bob Reply Report comment

    April 27, 2012 at 10:07 am

    Well…. on a positive note… at least they are putting down ACTUAL paint….. not the watered down crap that has been painted on in the last few years. Which is why we have to keep painting the SAME lines EVERY year!