It’s a bright new year for Collier County, but for more than five years now, peeling paint on traffic signal poles are becoming more of a nuisance. For Collier County residents, the eyesores are seen at many street corners, from Pine Ridge Road in North Naples, to the southeastern corridor of Collier, to the city of Naples.
Tom Grady, former state representative for District 76, sent a detailed letter to the secretary of the Florida Department of Transportation in late January 2009, to pressure FDOT to repair the traffic signal arms and bases. The initial reason cited for the flaking paint was due to a problem in the original paint application process when the contractor, Atlas Traffic Management Systems, failed to apply the paint correctly.
However, even when traffic lights were initially installed in the Immokalee Road corridor expansion, the paint was chipped by the contractor after initial installation, but touch-ups were added to bring back the original paint finish after a request was made by Collier County to repair it. The repair was completed, at least, until the traffic lights began peeling again.
Then touch-up painting with paint unmatched to the original colors of the traffic pole bases occurred at many intersections. And contractors did not follow any color processes, and as a result, touch ups are almost as obvious as the original peeling paint itself. “What happens is the manufacturer puts on a dry coat. When a contractor touches it up, the wet paint doesn’t work,” explained John W. Miller, a project manager with Collier County’s Transportation Division.
Naples Mayor Bill Barnett said the flaking poles in city limits are completely repaired, for now.
“We’re all done. We’ve been done for six months now,” Barnett said. “They let us do the repair work ourself, and the state reimbursed us for the repairs. The only way I see they (the county) can do it, is if they get a guarantee from the state to reimburse them for the repairs.”
Meanwhile, Miller said the mast arm painting project was slowed down substantially due to the recent cold weather.
“When it is cold, we can’t paint below 50 degrees, and we had quite a few cold fronts this year,” he said.
Miller said that FDOT has extended its warranty on the painted traffic poles to five years.
“Now the FDOT has a five-year warranty, and selected fabricators have to be approved,” he said.
In the last few years though, some of the mast arms are due for a total replacement. Rather than repairing the poles, Miller said it is better to wait for a replacement.
“The reason we haven’t done anything at the Collier Boulevard and Davis Boulevard intersection is because it is due to be replaced. I didn’t want to spend the county’s money to paint it, and then have it replaced a year later,” he said.
Miller encourages residents to call Collier County Traffic Operations at 252-8160 to report any peeling paint on mast arms to add to the county’s growing number of flaking paint on poles and mast arms.