Sean McAfee of Johnstown did a double take on his way home from work late last week.
What caught the biker’s attention was a dead raccoon in the middle of Franklin Street. Not that unusual – except that this racoon had been painted over by a road crew.
“When I saw it, I almost wrecked my motorcycle because I was laughing so hard,” McAfee said.
According to a PennDOT spokesman, the incident Thursday, while embarrassing, was unavoidable.
“They did try to stop the paint gun,” District 9 traffic engineer John Ambrosini said.
“But with the amount of congestion Thursday, the squirrelly geometry of the road and the size of equipment, they couldn’t turn around to go back and fix the mistake.”
Ambrosini said a foreman vehicle usually travels in front of or behind the painting vehicle to clean up or move any obstructions.
But that morning there was no accompanying foreman vehicle.
The paint crew saw the dead critter, he said. But it was too late to stop the double yellow lines from running up the back of the raccoon.
A two-foot break in the lines shows where the crew apparently tried to avoid the deceased animal.
“We were out the next morning to clean it up,” Ambrosini said.
An unpainted spot is all that remains of where the unfortunate animal met its demise. Ambrosini said that he is unsure when a crew will repair the less-than-perfect paint job.
He said that the problem occurs “pretty frequently.”
But, he said, paint crews takes their jobs very seriously.
“Painting the yellow lines over the existing lines is not easily done.”