Anton Taskov, the owner of Bulgaria’s first privately owned road marking company, shares his expertise and perspectives on improving the Bulgarian road system to align with international standards and ensure the country’s integration within the European Union.
In a recent interview with Forbes magazine, Mr. Taskov emphasized the importance of using thermoplastic, a material for horizontal road markings, to achieve optimal visibility regardless of the season or weather conditions. As a pioneer in the use and production of thermoplastic in Bulgaria, his company, ‘Signalizacia,’ has built a reputation for uncompromised quality over its nearly 30-year existence.
When asked why he chose thermoplastics and why it is the ideal material for road markings, Mr. Taskov highlighted several factors: durability, price, environmental friendliness, and safety. He explained that traditional acrylic paint used in Bulgaria often deteriorates quickly, with the reflective pearls losing visibility soon after application. In contrast, thermoplastic has been widely adopted in developed countries since the 1950s due to its durability and cost-effectiveness on highways, first-class and second-class roads worldwide.
Today, thermoplastic remains a popular choice for road markings due to its long-term effectiveness, cost-efficiency, and versatility. Evolving production and application techniques have further improved night visibility and enhanced safety on wet and challenging road surfaces. Notably, thermoplastic is suitable for extreme hot and cold weather conditions, making it highly desirable. Its durability often exceeds a five-year lifespan.
The application of thermoplastic involves specialized machines that apply the material at temperatures exceeding 200 degrees Celsius. Reflective glass beads are mixed into the material, ensuring consistent visibility throughout its usage. These beads resurface gradually through friction, maintaining excellent street marking visibility. In recent years, manufacturers of cold plastic have also started incorporating improved techniques with reflective pearls, although the quantity used still lags behind thermoplastics.
Statistics demonstrate progress in road safety in Bulgaria over the years, with a decrease in fatalities despite an increase in registered vehicles. However, there is room for further improvement. Leading countries in the industry, such as Sweden, have pursued initiatives like the “Vision 0” project, aiming for zero fatalities on their roads. By adopting best practices and know-how from these countries, Bulgaria can strive towards achieving similar results and enhancing road safety.
Environmental considerations are also paramount, particularly in the current climate context. Thermoplastic proves to be eco-friendly, as studies show it does not release harmful volatile substances, unlike acrylic paint and cold plastic. Several European countries have limited the use of cold plastic and acrylic paint due to their toxicity, pollution, and risks to human health.
To address industry challenges effectively, unifying road standards based on European norms rather than selective application would be beneficial. Mr. Taskov believes that the Bulgarian government should prioritize people’s health, safety, and genuine needs in their decision-making process.
Anton Taskov’s expertise and dedication to introducing world-class road marking solutions in Bulgaria pave the way for safer, environmentally friendly, and internationally compliant road systems in the country.