Cones cover slow-drying yellow lines on South Nordic Drive in Petersburg Thursday, October 12, 2017. (Joe Viechnicki/KFSK)

First it was chip sealing that damaged Petersburg vehicles. Now it’s messy road paint on some of those same roads.Motorists are complaining about the state of Alaska’s road painting job this week, with bright yellow line paint smeared along several state roads. The paint has also stained some vehicles and spread in yellow footprints and tire tracks.

The Petersburg Police Department directed questions on the striping to the Department of Transportation. The DOT had an announcement on the radio (KFSK-FM) this week saying the paint was taking a long time to dry and that DOT crews were investigating why that was. Motorists were advised to follow suggestions from the manufacturer for removing the paint.

Motorists were cautioned about wet paint on Haugen Drive in Petersburg, Thursday, October 12, 2017. (Joe Viechnicki/KFSK)

Cones were placed on the new yellow lines. A sign was up Thursday on Haugen Drive warning of wet paint and motorists were asked to avoid driving on the lines.
Petersburg borough assembly member and former city mayor Jeff Meucci said he had yellow paint on his mirror, running board and bumper and was able to scrub off some of that Wednesday night.

“You know as I went home I stopped at my neighbor’s house,” Meucci said Thursday. “She was out scrubbing the heck out of her car and it wasn’t coming off. So I hope DOT is a little proactive, other than telling to get out there and seeing what your manufacturer suggests. They should have some kinda, little better, I think it’s all over the place. It’s tough.”

Meucci said he was moose hunting on Mitkof Island Thursday and it looked like the crews had a hard time driving in a straight line while painting Mitkof Highway.

Petersburg isn’t the only place with problems from state road painting.

The Ketchikan Daily News reported on complaints there last month, with the mayor of the Ketchikan Gateway borough ending up with yellow paint on his car too.

“First I’d like to apologize for any inconvenience.,” said Lance Mearig, the DOT’s Southcoast Region director. “We have been testing a new painting system both equipment and doing the work ourselves instead of using contract painters. So it is the same equipment and materials that we used in Ketchikan.”

Mearig said the paint the DOT is using is not drying as fast as it should. “This paint that we are using is designed for low temperature applications,” he explained. “It is the first time we’ve used it in Southeast Alaska this year. We’ve had more success in summer and as we’ve pushed painting into the fall, we’re not sure why but it’s certainly not drying as fast as the manufacturer’s literature would have led us to believe.”

It’s the second round of problems from a DOT project in Petersburg this year. The state this summer fielded claims in Petersburg over new chip sealing on state roads that led to cracked windshields and chipped vehicle paint jobs. That chip sealing covered up old street markings and led to the painting this fall.

DOT painting crews are also scheduled to do work in Juneau after Petersburg, although Mearig said they may use a different paint for that work. Motorists can find instructions on removing this paint from vehicles here. Those who aren’t successful can call Jack Albrecht at the Division of Risk Management at 907-465-2183.