Road Marking Starter Guide

Road line marking is any material or device placed on the road to provide official information and is a critical part of any road surface. It is primarily used to delineate traffic lanes, inform motorists of legal maneuvers and to maintain a safe flow of traffic.

Depending on the planned lifespan of the road in question, either Temporary or Permanent Line marking may be implemented. Temporary line marking (such as Temporary Raised Reflective Pavement Markers) is quicker to put down and easier to remove compared to permanent line marking (such as thermoplastic arrows). RMS D&C R145, Pavement Marking (Performance Based) is the relevant line marking specification used on the project.

Construction Methodology

  • The line marking contractor must be accredited by RMS.
  • All line marking materials must comply with RMS requirements.
  • Ensure the line marking has been planned and set out by a surveyor. There is also an applicable Hold Point that must be issued to Sub IC for notification of set out.
  • Ensure the road is dry and clean, free of dirt, gravel and any other loose foreign material.
  • Ensure all hot works permits are up to date (if thermoplastics or RRPMs are to be used or if the road needs warming or drying). When RRPMs are used refer to RMS D&C R142 specification.
  • As works take place on the road surface, appropriate traffic management must be in place.
  • Remove old or redundant lines in accordance with Clause 3.3 of R145.
  • Apply the required line marking.
  • Ensure it has been installed correctly.

Completed line marking and raised retro-reflective raised pavement markers can be seen below.


  • Wet weather can prevent line marking from being implemented as the road needs to be dry. If the roads are wet, the paint may run and the plastic may not stick.
  • Debris or dirt on the road surface.
  • Designs not fitting in with existing line marking.
  • Incorrect survey set out.

Identified Records

  • All RMS specifications contain a list of important identified records that need to obtained/addressed.
  • Ensure that all the relevant planning documents and identified records are obtained for specifications D&C R142 and R145.

Quality Tips

  • Prior to any road marking being undertaken, the area is to be swept clean to make it free of all dirt or debris which could prevent paint or thermoplastic lines from being applied correctly and sticking to the pavement.
  • In situations where new line marking must tie in with existing road markings, the new design does not always line up with what exists on ground. Prior to placing as per design, conduct a visual check of the spotting out for potential issues. If the design does not line up with the existing line marking, it may be best to redesign the tie-in points.
  • When line marking a second turning lane, if the design for the new lane does not line up with the arrows on the existing lane it may be best to modify the design to match what is on ground rather than scrubbing the existing arrows and placing new arrows in both lanes.
  • Check the weather for incoming rain as line marking material may not fully adhere to road surfaces if not completely dry.
  • Ensure survey is done ahead of time. Surveying is the most time consuming part of temporary line marking, a 500m section that takes a truck less than a minute to mark out may take a surveyor 20 to 25 minutes to properly survey.
  • Newly laid asphalt needs 24 / 48 hours to settle and to allow the oils to evaporate prior to applying line marking. Thermoplastics will not stick to newly laid asphalt.