Blue reflectors mark highway’s nearby fire hydrants


JASPER — The Indiana Department of Transportation did two big things to ensure this summer’s resurfacing of State Road 164 from Third Avenue to State Road 545 was a value-added project.

First, INDOT added centerline rumble strips to alert drivers when they drift from their lane on the curvy, undivided highway.

Then, on Thursday, when raised orange reflective pavement markers were being installed down the center of the highway, INDOT changed things up a bit and laid down a blue reflective marker every so often.

Those blue markers were installed at the request of Celestine Volunteer Fire Department Chief Ryan Wineinger. They demarcate the locations of fire hydrants along the highway.

Wineinger says fire departments have hydrant locations listed on mapping but, at night during an emergency run, spotting those blue reflectors can speed up getting hoses hooked to hydrants and getting water sprayed on flames.

Celestine’s chief noticed that INDOT had put some hydrant-marking blue reflectors on State Road 37 when the highway was resurfaced between Paoli and Orleans.

INDOT spokesman Jason Tiller says the state highway department was excited to partner with the local department to install blue reflectors. It’s not a common practice, having been only adopted within the last few years, Tiller said. There is value to it, he added, so the public should be noticing it more.

Jasper Volunteer Fire Chief Kenny Hochgesang said Wineinger told him about the Celestine department’s blue reflector request. Hochgesang was all in favor. In fact, he said, there was talk in the past of using them on Jasper streets but it was thought snow plows would likely uproot them in the winter. The blue reflectors in the center of a highway stand a much better chance of surviving.

“It’s very helpful to help locate a hydrant,” Wineinger said. “In the middle of the night it can be difficult. It’s nice to have an extra reference point there for you.”

Celestine’s chief has yet to personally view the new highway reflectors. He has been deployed since Aug. 7 fighting wildfires in western Montana.


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