Permanent Utilities Paint

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If you have ever had the opportunity to do a housing project that involved digging deep in the ground than you have likely (or should have) called blue stakes. You know them, the guys that come out and mark where underground utilities are so you don’t make a major snafu and cut into your power or other utilities.

The service is great, and you’d have to be a moron not to call them because a) they are free, and b) the possible fallout of cutting into their lines is just not worth it.

The only part that really bothers me is the paint they use. I’m not sure if there is some requirement of the grade of paint they use, or if it is a matter of cost or ease of use, but it stays f-o-r-e-v-e-r! There is temporary paint out there, really. It exists. Just like hair dye, there are different grades too, some that last until it gets wet and some that will last through a few items of washing.

Rather than use something that will be gone in a month or so we end up with nice symbols and lines all over our sidewalk, driveway and even landscaped curbing in the yard. That last one was what really got me. Was it necessary to paint on my decorative curbing with the bright yellow and orange paint?

It has been a while since the last time my yard and driveway was painted up, but I thought of it this morning because there is some major utility work still underway in our little town. One of the streets I travel down was painted up last week for about a mile stretch of asphalt. I stopped and took a photo of this city condoned urban street graffiti to display what will likely be there for months to come until the elements finally wear away at it until they are just ghosted reminders of their current bright selves.

I really think this is just a case of using what is easiest for the job at hand. Just like typical sub-contracted companies, they only care about what their immediate needs and tasks are, let someone else wonder about the cleanup and long term ramifications. I assume there is a reason and explanation for why this is the way it is, but I’ll rant about it nonetheless.

Perhaps they could do a little artistic training for the crew manning the paint stick? Teach them to do some pleasing artwork with their markings? How about mixing the colors a bit and giving us something more appealing than just the one? More than anything, though, really can we just use some paint that is a bit more temporary?

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