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Striping the streets

Becky Vargo • May 15, 2018 at 2:00 PM

Don Sokolow says that not a lot of people know what he does, but they see his company’s work every day. 

The owner of Advanced Pavement Marking of West Olive stopped his pavement painting machine for a few minutes Sunday evening while working on sidewalk crossing lines at the intersection of Columbus Avenue and Third Street in downtown Grand Haven.

“We just finished Fruitport,” he said. His employees will travel to Charlevoix after spending a week working in Grand Haven.

Both cities wanted the work done before their annual festivals, such as the Old Fashioned Days in Fruitport and the Petunia Festival in Charlevoix.

Sokolow said they usually do Grand Haven just before the annual Coast Guard Festival, but the city wanted the work done earlier and his company had an opening in their schedule for this week.

The bright, clean lines stood out even more as skies darkened and the occasional car passed through the area, veering around cones set up for the few minutes that it takes for the paint to dry.

“It generally dries to a no-track within one minute,” he said. But they keep the cones in the area for 15-20 minutes, just in case.

Sokolow said the brightness comes from glass beads injected during the painting process. That also makes the lines reflective.

Sokolow said his crews would do all of the crosswalks, stop bars, arrows and railroad crossings in the city. The Michigan Department of Transportation takes care of everything on U.S. 31.

Crews would work all night, or until they got to the dew point or it started raining, he said. The fog rolled in at about 1:30 a.m. Monday, so the work had to stop. Rain was expected Monday evening, so Sokolow said crews probably wouldn’t be back out until Wednesday.

The local company does all of the Ottawa County trunk lines. They also take care of Kent and Grand Traverse counties.

A unique aspect of his company is that they also paint markings at racetracks.

Sokolow said crews were going to New Hampshire, Pittsburgh and Atlanta this spring to do work there.

So, how much does it cost the City of Grand Haven for pavement marking? According to the city’s 2017-18 budget, pavement marking totaled about $26,000. That amount pays for the labor, as well as for the more than 300 gallons of MDOT pre-qualified paint used in the Grand Haven project. 

For more information on the pavement marking company’s work, go to www.advancedpavementmarking.com.

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