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Structure Awards Honor Industry’s Best

Monday, January 30, 2012

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From a towering national icon to a remote Alaskan military bridge, coatings projects of excellence took top honors Monday (Jan. 30) at SSPC 2012 in Tampa, FL.

The Society for Protective Coatings’ annual Structure Awards recognized coatings projects, contractors and suppliers in four categories.

The awards, presented at SSPC’s annual meeting, recognized a wide range of projects for their artistry, durability, safety, management, access ingenuity, materials and other achievements in the face of multiple challenges—from record snowfalls to spaces so tight that painters worked on their backs wearing life jackets.

Following are abbreviated descriptions of the winning projects, listed in alphabetical order by their award.

Complete project details and more photographs will be published later this year in JPCL.

George Campbell Award (3 winners)

The George Campbell Award recognizes outstanding achievement in the completion of a difficult or complex industrial or commercial coatings project.

Hart Bridge: Jacksonville, FL

Owner: Florida DOT
Contractor: M&J Painting, Campbell, OH
Coating Supplier: Carboline

About the Project

The Hart Bridge rehabilitation included major structural steel repairs and blasting and painting of a through-arch truss bridge over the St John’s River in downtown Jacksonville. The existing coating system contained lead and was deemed hazardous. The project included full blasting to SSPC-SP10 of all steel members and application of a four-coat coating system. This project was the first by FDOT using the performance-based coating system specification.

 George Campbell Award: Hart Bridge

 GPI Southeast Inc.

The Hart Bridge rehabilitation, which featured 38 separate containments and a new specification system, was completed 101 days ahead of the deadline.

The project required 38 containments, due to wind load. Other challenges included significant heights, difficult access, painstaking scheduling to accommodate a variety of major downtown events, box beams and major gusset plate repairs. The contractor finished the work 101 days ahead of the allowable contract time.


Mystic Bridge: Groton, CT

Owner: Connecticut DOT
Contractor: Gemstone Painting LLC, Key West, FL
Coating Supplier: Sherwin-Williams

About the Project

The project involved rehabilitating the structural steel, electrical, machinery, control house systems and realignment. The work included:

• Blasting, cleaning, repairing and painting the structural steel;

• Replacing the counterweight trunnion bearings, electrical systems, control house and drive machinery;

• Removing and replacing 320 feet of submarine cable;

• Replacing and extending the bridge railing; and

• Repairing the stone wall and east abutment.

Special challenges included addressing the complexities of the 1920 Strauss Heel-trunnion-type structure with movable span; working in a high-traffic area; working during one of the worst winters in state history, including more than 86 inches of snowfall over three months; and a tight time schedule.

 George Campbell Award: Mystic Bridge

 Cianbro Corp.

Tight access required painters to kneel or lie on their backs while working during one of the worst winters in Connecticut’s history.

Very limited access meant that much of the painting had to be done while kneeling or lying on one’s back and wearing a personal flotation device. Specially designed scaffolding for work on the upper truss minimized the need for fall protection.

U.S. Capitol Dome: Washington, D.C.

Owner: Architect of the Capitol (AOC)
Contractor: Aulson Co. LLC, Georgetown, MA
Coating Supplier: PPG Protective & Marine Coatings

About the Project

The restoration of the U.S. Capitol Dome (Phase 1b - Interim Painting) consisted of installation of an overcoat system on the 69,000-square-foot exterior surface. Before topcoating, all surfaces were pressure washed and then spot-primed. Coating areas were repaired where bare metal was exposed.

 Capitol Dome

 Architect of the Capitol

The project had to be completed without impacting building activities and with the use of specifically engineered modified access.

The project also included complete cleaning of structural cast-iron trusses located between the exterior and interior dome.

Project challenges stemmed from the many demands of working with the historic icon. The project had to be completed without the appearance that it was in progress and without impacting building activities. Aulson therefore developed an AOC-approved work schedule for every facet of the project.

The entire building is considered Historic Fabric, and many areas are considered “No Load Areas.” All access points and staging areas had to be meticulously maintained. Because of frequent gusty conditions, all materials stored within the rooftop work area required specific attachments or ballast.

Each level of the Dome’s exterior required specific engineered modified access.

William Johnson Award (3 winners)

The William Johnson Award recognizes outstanding achievement in demonstrating aesthetic merit in industrial or commercial coatings work.

Bridge of Lions: St. Augustine, FL

Owner: Florida DOT, District 2
Prime Contractor: Tidewater Skanska, Virginia Beach, VA
Painting Contractor: POP’s Painting, Lakeland, FL
Coating Supplier: Carboline

About the Project

Restoration of this historic bridge included matching the original 1927 bridge color. No records existed—just colorized postcards and information gleamed from oral histories. The bridge had been stripped and recoated numerous times, and no original coating remained exposed. Identifying the original color involved research commissioned by FDO, destructive testing in hidden areas, and stereomicroscopic analysis of samples.

 Historic Coating Systems

 Historic Coating Systems

The renovation included stripping more than 75 years’ worth of old coatings and installing a new coating system in the original color.

A temporary bypass bridge was constructed before work began.

The extensive restoration work included:

• Removal of the existing deck, superstructure and plate girders, as well as the entire bascule structure and mechanical systems;

• Removal of existing abutments, approach piers and foundations, and replacement with increased loadbearing design;

• Renovation of the observation and control towers;

• Widening of the road deck to two 12-foot traffic lanes; and

• Installation of new sidewalks, railings and lighting, new bascule segments and mechanical.

Fort Atkinson Water Tower:  Fort Atkinson, WI

Owner: City of Fort Atkinson
Contractor: TMI Coatings Inc., St. Paul, MN
Coating Supplier: Tnemec

About the Project

Restoration of this brick masonry and structural steel historic tower included full exterior painting and lead abatement.



The deteriorating water tower (left) was taken out of service in 1988. Right: After restoration.

A critical phase of the project involved the removal of lead-based paint from the structure’s 100,000-gallon water storage tank, which is located near a school.

TMI applied Pretox to all the exterior surfaces to temporarily overcoat the lead-based paint during surface preparation and lead abatement. Immediately after blasting, surfaces were primed and second-coated with a polyamide epoxy by Tnemec, Series FC20. The third and fourth coats were Tnemec aliphatic acrylic polyurethanes, Series 1074 and 1074U.

All of the metal surfaces were brushed and rolled to minimize overspray risk.

The project returned full operation of the once-deteriorating water tower to the community.The coating system remains fully intact and shows no sign of corrosion or other paint failures.

Sprague Energy Tank Farm: South Portland, ME

Owner: Sprague Energy Corp.
Contractor: AMEX Inc.
Coating Supplier: Sherwin-Williams

About the Project

This tank is part of an ongoing project that will be the world’s largest public art painting when finished. Art All Around is transforming a storage tank farm near South Portland and Portland, ME, into a significant work of art through cooperative creativity. Upon completion of the project, 16 oil tanks—261,000 square feet in all—will be painted (eight full tanks and the tops of eight other tanks). This tank, No. 28, is the third to be painted.

 Sherwin-Williams / Maine Center for Creativity

 Sherwin-Williams / Maine Center for Creativity

Volunteer participants in the Art All Around project show off the third of 16 tanks to be painted in the series, which combines industrial painting and artistic endeavor.

The winning artistic design was selected from 560 submissions from 80 countries. The collaboration includes the pro bono support of engineer Jon R. Cavallo, PE, PCS; the volunteer Board of Directors of Maine Center for Creativity, Sherwin-Williams, AMEX Inc. and Sprague Energy Corp.

Military Coatings Award

This award honors outstanding achievement in a military coatings project.

Yukon Training Range Bridge: Fairbanks, AK

Owner: U.S. Army
Prime Contractor: Mandaree Enterprise Corp.
Painting Contractor: Washington Industrial Coatings Inc., Silverdale, WA
Coating Supplier: Iimak Inc.

About the Project

The project involved painting a 70-foot bridge on a remote training range in Alaska. Among the challenges:

• Removing the existing red lead coating system without contaminating an environmentally sensitive stream below the bridge;

• Meeting surface preparation and coating application requirements on a complex structure;

• Using a low-VOC coating that would withstand the abuse of flying gravel from the unpaved road; and

• Conducting the work in winter or early spring, when the structure was not in use.

The intricate design of the World War II-era bridge made it a complex structure to clean and paint. The structure provided vital access to remote military training areas that would be needed in May; thus, the work had to be completed in the early Alaskan springtime.



The bridge was lifted from its abutments and set on the road for the coating project, to protect an environmentally sensitive stream.

In addition, the Corps of Engineers ERDC laboratory had selected the structure to demonstrate a new VOC-compliant vinyl coating under a Corrosion Prevention & Control program.

The contractor opted to protect an environmentally sensitive stream below the bridge by lifting the structure from its abutments and setting it on the road. Total containment (SSPC Class A1) was then erected enclosing the structure. The site was returned to original conditions in time for the training exercises.


Tagged categories: Access; Awards and honors; Bridges; Contractors; Industrial Contractors; Paint application; Protective coatings; SSPC; Water Tanks

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