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Golden Gate Bridge Blows Out 75 Candles

Friday, May 25, 2012

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Her facelift is still incomplete, but the grand dame of American bridges is celebrating her 75th birthday in high style anyway.

 Golden Gate Bridge

 © Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District. Used with permission.

Maintenance painters from the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District are repainting more than 15,000 feet of main cable—the cables’ first paint job in 75 years.

The Golden Gate Bridge, which opened May 27, 1937, was set to mark her official anniversary Sunday (May 27) in an extravaganza capping a year of festivities.

New Features

In honor of the long-anticipated anniversary, the bridge’s 10 million annual visitors will see many improvements to the site this year. The list includes:

• A new, 3,500-square-foot visitor center called the Bridge Pavilion;

• Renovation of the Art Deco Round House, the starting point for bridge tours and home of the new Bridge Photo Experience (have your virtual photo taken atop the Bridge Tower!); and

• Improvements to the bridge’s flanking national parks.

What visitors won’t see—at least, not yet—is a totally new paint job.

Painting Progress

The bridge is in the midst of a multiyear repainting, but San Francisco’s climate has not been kind to the project.

 The color is—and always has been—“International Orange.”

 © Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District. Used with permission.

The color is—and always has been—“International Orange.”

The bridge’s two main suspension cables—each 7,650 feet long—are getting their first renovation and repainting since the bridge opened. (The vertical suspender cables were renovated in the 1970s and the roadway in the 1980s.)

The cable painting got off to a slow start in 2011, and continuing rain and fog continue to bedevil progress.

Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District spokeswoman Mary Currie said Friday (May 25) that the cable painting would take about five years, weather permitting.

The district is doing the job itself, with its in-house crew of 38 painters, after rejecting bids in the $30 million range by outside contractors.

 The bridge was named one of “Seven Engineering Wonders of the Modern World” by the American Society of Civil Engineers.

 Della Huff

The bridge was named one of “Seven Engineering Wonders of the Modern World” by the American Society of Civil Engineers.

Currently, Currie said, the paint crews are “progressing along” and preparing to move to the “higher sections” soon.

(How high? The roadway is 220 feet above the bay, and the main towers are 746 feet tall.)

Crews are also painting all of the structures under the north approach viaduct now, Currie said.

Challenges

The project has many challenges, including containment, limited work and staging areas, restricted ingress and egress, extreme heights (the cable scaffolding alone cost $100,000) and cranky climate. And the structure will remain open to millions of people throughout the project.

One problem owners did not face: choosing a color.

The Golden Gate will ring in its 75th year the same way it rang in its first: adorned in dazzling “International Orange.”

   

Tagged categories: Access; Bridges; Containment; Maintenance coating work; Primers; Scaffolding

Comment from peter gibson, (5/29/2012, 2:14 PM)

Anybody know what paint is being used.Seems like a big secret ! What was the budget if $ 30 m was too high.


Comment from Fred Wittenberg, (5/29/2012, 7:55 PM)

When the painting of SF's Golden Gate Bridge for her 75th anniversary is completed, she'll join the Firth of Fourth RR Bridge in Scotland, which was also just repainted. They're both beautiful during the day & when lit up at nite. The F of F predates the GG by almost 50 years. As long as we're talking about painting of period metallic structures, let's toss in Paris's Eiffel Tower. Now let them all stand forever!


Comment from Tom Schwerdt, (5/30/2012, 10:10 AM)

If we're one-upping by age, the "Piano Bridge" in Fayette County, TX was just refurbished. 1885. http://bridgehunter.com/tx/fayette/piano/


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