What’s up with the black line painted on La Posta Road (County Road 213)? Is this a new traffic feature that drivers need to be aware of? – Larry Zauberis
Generally speaking, drivers should pay attention to lines on the road. Not that anyone does around here.
In La Plata County, it seems that road stripes serve as mere suggested reference points for distracted drivers sending texts or foolhardy bicyclists riding in packs.
There are no hard-and-fast rules, other than to ride your bike hard or make your vehicle go fast.
However, white lines on the right side of the road have a specific meaning.
According to the federal “Manual of Uniform Control Devices,” a single, solid white line designates areas “that drivers should be discouraged from crossing in ‘normal’ situations but which drivers do need to cross in some situations.”
In other words, you can’t drive or pass on the shoulder. But you can pull over across a solid white line to the shoulder in the event of an emergency.
Not that any area motorist could pull over onto the shoulder.
Scrawny fashion models have wider shoulders than most county roads.
But none of that explains the black lines on La Posta.
For line questions, Action Line used a phone line to chat up our good friend Jim Davis, director of public works at La Plata County.
Jim lined out the situation south of town.
Earlier this year, the county chip-sealed La Posta Road. “And when you resurface a road, you need to restripe it,” he said.
That’s where things cross the line.
As Jim explained, there was a new person operating the striping equipment and the arm of the paint-applicator wasn’t tightened sufficiently.
Thus, the paint arm had extended too far to outward, creating an extra-wide driving lane and teensy-weensy shoulder.
The green road-painter person didn’t know and finished the white-line job.
“The bikers started calling immediately, asking what’s going on,” Jim said. “It was an honest mistake.”
What path should a good public works director take when a road becomes mismarked?
“We looked at the options and determined that applying a quick coat of black paint over the white paint was the best solution. So we did that and then applied the new white paint at the correct width setting,” Jim said.
After such a mildly embarrassing episode, you might say La Plata County is black and white and red all over.
That was just Action Line’s middle-of-the-road color commentary.
Over the seasons, the black lines will fade to gray.
In the meantime, road users will get the mosta La Posta
So don’t consider this a black mark against the county.
Sure, it was a cover-up – but not THAT kind of cover-up.
Any suggestion otherwise would be way over the line.
Email questions to email@example.com or mail them to Action Line, The Durango Herald, 1275 Main Ave., Durango, CO 81301. You can request anonymity if your black mark is on the sunny side of the street.