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Cold Applied Road Markings

Case Study:

Cold Applied Road Markings


Cork County Council seeks to reduce the carbon footprint on road improvement and maintenance projects wherever possible. In this project, the opportunity arose to trial a cold-applied road marking product to assist in reducing the environmental impact and carbon footprint of a road improvement project. In conjunction with Meon Ireland and Breedon Ireland’s Road Marking Division, cold-applied road markings were recently installed on a road improvement project in Mallow Town, Co. Cork.


The carbon reduction benefits of the technique were established by a cradle-to-gate study of the line marking activity by the University of Alberta. The study included an assessment of the embodied carbon of the raw materials and the methods of application as well as the associated emissions from transport and installation. A white paper was published in 2020 to share the findings of this study, which was verified by sustainability experts Avieco, a sustainability consultant.

The key benefit of the product as outlined by Meon is that the whole-life cost is lower than conventional hot-applied techniques because of increased durability and reduced carbon emissions. To balance the environmental benefit there is a higher cost of installation of between 20% to 70% depending on the application. With a stated increase in durability of 300% the frequency of maintenance is also reduced; therefore, further carbon reduction is achieved.

A Methyl Methacrylate (MMA) cold plastics material is used in the trial. The application technique does not require heating during the line marking process and they can be transported by light commercial vehicles. The cold-applied road markings can be applied with a range of modern, efficient line marking equipment. 

This trial will examine a manual extrusion application material for high wear markings at junctions and sprayable application material for all longitudinal markings. The spray application machine used in the installation of this trial is a fully electric battery powered unit. Tests on retro-reflectivity, durability and performance will be carried out during the lifetime of the trial road markings.

Benefits of Solution

The stated product benefits are 

•    Increase in night-time visibility of the line markings by 60% 
•    Increased durability by up to 300% dependent on the location of use
•    Reduction in carbon emissions at installation by 40% when compared to hot applied materials.
Based on the White Paper study, the cold applied line marking installation on this project (300m section of road) saved approximately 444 kgCO2e. Additionally, there is potential for a further saving of 1560 kgCO2e due to reduced maintenance once the durability estimates are fully realised. 

Project Details:

The project installation was short however the potential period of evaluation could be in the order of 8-10 years to validate the sustainability and durability of the product.
Mr. Ted O’Sullivan, 
Regional & Local Roads Design Office
Cork County Council 

Photographs courtesy of Mr Ted O'Sullivan, Cork County Council.