Alaska Will Not Be Fixing Its Bad Paint Job Or The Cars It Stained

Tongass Highway in Ketchikan, Alaska. Image: AP
Tongass Highway in Ketchikan, Alaska. Image: AP

Look at those highway lines above. They are bad! The state of Alaska, which painted them recently in Ketchikan, Alaska, acknowledges that they are bad and, in some cases, staining cars. But the state also says they won’t redo them, what they are doing is offering some some good tips on how to clean your paint-stained car! Nice!

What exactly happened here? According to the Associated Press, the lines were painted in a time of high humidity in southeast Alaska, where Ketchikan is located. The poor weather conditions meant that the paint dried slower than it normally does. Also, the state Department of Transportation was trying out a new line-painting system. Both things added up to disaster.

From the AP:

Bob Sivertson, a Ketchikan city council member, called it the poorest line painting work he’s seen.


It’s the poorest line painting work Bob Sivertson has ever seen! And Bob sounds like a city council member who knows his lines. I have to agree with Bob.

Anyway, if you were unfortunate enough to be driving along the Tongass Highway when the paint was still wet, and your car got stained, a spokeswoman for the state DOT offered some pointers.

Per the AP:

She said people with cars that got paint on them should have the vehicles pressure washed.

If the car washes don’t work, she recommended spraying WD-40 lubricant on areas stained with yellow paint. The lubricant should be left on cars for up to two hours before washing them.

And if that does not work, she said, they should put a “liberal coating of Vaseline” on the car areas stained yellow. It should be left on the cars overnight before getting the vehicles pressure washed, Bailey said.


Damn. You’re on your own in the last frontier.

News Editor at Jalopnik. 2008 Honda Fit Sport.

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What’s the legal precedent for them refusing to pay. They might side-stepping the idea of paying but I’ll be a little surprised if the state is legally in the clear for doing that. A state employee or contractor, in the course of doing their job, directly caused damage to someone’s property. In most states I’ve seen it go down in, the state is liable for that unless they have a specific law granting them immunity.

Since neither this nor the source article actually says anything about them refusing to fix cars, I suspect what they’re trying to do is to get people to just assume they’re on their own, which from the state’s point of view isn’t a bad strategy. Seems like 99 times out of a hundred if a company or agency claims they are not liable for something or offers an alternative that implies such, people just assume so even if it’s patently false.