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Lead Paint Bloats Mural Costs, Timeline

Thursday, October 13, 2016

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Transforming a transit bridge into a work of public art turned into more than one metropolitan Atlanta city bargained for after lead paint was revealed to exist on the structure.

Earlier this year, the Decatur Arts Alliance had issued a call for artists to work with the community to create and paint an outdoor mural on a Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) overpass in Decatur.

While the original schedule called for a community celebration wrapping up the project to be held this month, work was delayed and costs soared when lead paint was discovered on the structure’s steel support beams, multiple sources reported.

The project, originally slated to cost a total of $30,000, saw the budget jump to $65,000 resulting from the need for lead abatement, local news site Decaturish.com reported.

Abatement Required

The painting work, to be performed by professional artists the MILAGROS Collective, was slated to begin Sept. 1, sources said.

“However, when necessary preparation of the bridge for the mural was discussed, it was disclosed that the steel portions of the bridge had been painted using lead materials and that this condition needed to be abated prior to painting the mural,” Deputy City Manager Hugh Saxon said in a memo.

Saxon suggested the city increase the project budget to $65,000 and award a $58,610 contract to Clearwater Environmental Resources of Duluth, GA, to remove the lead paint.

“Because of the delay, changing weather and Milagros schedule, there is some urgency in getting this work done professionally and quickly,” Saxon said.

The city commission approved the contract Oct. 3, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reported.

At the start of the project, the city had received a $15,000 grant for the mural from the Atlanta Regional Commission and Community Foundation of Greater Atlanta, which required a 100 percent match from the city.

MARTA reportedly will reimburse the city for the additional work costs.

“The abatement is a very elaborate process,” Assistant Director for Community and Economic Development Linda Harris told the newspaper. “You can’t have that old paint hit the street and risk getting in the water system. So they have to be very careful where they put it and where they take it.”

Long-Lasting Work

Abatement work was slated to begin last week and take eight to 10 days for completion, so MILAGRO Collective mural artists Felici Asteinza and Joey Fillastre expect to get started painting mid month.

The mural, which looks like an abstract design at a distance, reportedly depicts chameleons, caterpillars, snakes, blueberries, salamanders, and other local plants and animals in the green ribbons areas.

The mural will be painted on both sides of the overpass and on the pilings. Fillastre told the Atlanta Journal Constitution he expects the job will take between 70 and 80 gallons of paint.

The artwork could last 30 years with periodic pressure washing and touchups, he added.

   

Tagged categories: Asia Pacific; Coating Materials; EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa); Health and safety; Latin America; Lead; Lead; Lead paint abatement; Mass transit; Murals; North America; Public Transit

Comment from Warren Brand, (10/13/2016, 9:37 AM)

Lead remains one of the most corrosion resistant pigments around. Is the LBP well adhered? Why is it being removed? What type of paint is going to be used for the mural? Anyone have specs I could look at?


Comment from M. Halliwell, (10/13/2016, 10:49 AM)

Added to that is the question of are they sure it is the previous paint coating system that's the issue, or is it an underlying primer? I've had numerous experience where the paint itself is fine, but the primer is lead based....so if you're taking it to bare metal, you've got "lead paint" to deal with.


Comment from Car F., (10/13/2016, 10:58 AM)

Have they consider encapsulation? If lead based paint is left alone it will not affect anything. If there is paint failing, then treat the spots and encapsulate


Comment from Warren Brand, (10/14/2016, 11:14 AM)

Agreed - typically find it in primer - often well adhered. Was also wondering about encapsulation.....


Comment from Tom Schwerdt, (10/17/2016, 8:35 AM)

Warren: Hit up Google Maps with "West Trinity Place Decatur" and drag the little guy over for a Streetview. The existing system has pretty widespread rust breakthrough. For a structure of that apparent age, lead should have been expected. Encapsulation might be possible, but you can't just slap some pretty latex over it.


Comment from Warren Brand, (1/2/2017, 3:51 PM)

Hi Tom, Very cool virtual tour! Sorry for not responding sooner. Agree on all points. Happy New Year.


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