Municipalities across New Jersey that have chosen to honor law enforcement by adding a streak of blue to the middle of their roads have been advised by federal officials to stop the practice. Several communities, including Ridgewood, Glen Rock, Oaklyn and Mantua have the lines on their streets.
A Dec. 8 letter from the Federal Highway Administration to Somerset County's Engineering Division confirmed that the blue center lines are in violation of the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Streets and Highways.
The MUTCD states that "the pavement surface must be visible in the space between the lines in the same way that it is visible outside the lines."
Office of Transportation Operations Director Mark Kehrli added in the letter that blue paint should only be used for designating handicap parking spaces.
The letter went on to state: "There are many appropriate and fitting ways to recognize service to the public that do not involve the modification of a traffic control device, which can put the road user at risk due to misinterpretation of its meaning."
It's unclear whether municipalities can be penalized for keeping the blue lines.