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County Greenlights Return of Geese to Bridge

Friday, July 13, 2018

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The graffiti geese of Pittsburgh’s 10th Street Bridge may be returning to roost thanks to a vote by the Allegheny County Council Tuesday (July 10) that approved the repainting of the longstanding work, once the rehabilitation of the bridge has been completed.

The choice of the council, which voted 12-2, reflected the 950-plus participants who signed a May petition in support of saving the geese

Rehab vs. the Geese

The $20 million bridge rehabilitation project covers the replacement of the bridge deck and painting, among other repairs. The bridge was opened in 1933 and is 1,275 feet long, the only conventional (parallel-cable) suspension bridge in Pennsylvania, according to the county.

In June 2017, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation awarded the contract for rehabilitation of the bridge to American Bridge Company of Coraopolis, Pennsylvania.

Courtesy of Rudy Hudale

The containment being used by blasting and painting contractors as part of the job moved over the tower with the geese in recent weeks, and the geese were blasted off the structure earlier this week, according to photos supplied to PaintSquare Daily News

Work includes a total of 1,086 square yards of penetrating sealant protective coating application for reinforced concrete superstructure and substructure surfaces, along with coating existing and new structural steel surfaces. Work will also involve coating handrails with an organic zinc-rich system. Coating of cables with a high-build acrylic system is also included.

While much of the rehab job is conventional, one aspect of the work piqued the interest of artist Tim Kaulen and others in the community: The repainting of the towers that would presumably result in the eradication of the four geese painted on the top of the bridge's south tower. The geese—sometimes mistaken for dinosaurs—have stood guard over the span for 20 years, Kaulen says, placed there by a seemingly fearless street artist.

The artist, it turns out? Kaulen himself, according to a recent interview.

10th Street Bridge Geese
Dave Gingrich, CC-BY-SA-2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The geese stood on the bridge's south tower for more than 20 years before this year's rehab job.

“Initially, as a young artist living in Pittsburgh, I was taken by the vast areas of neglect and abandoned buildings and storefronts,” Kaulen told TribLIVE. “As a resident of the South Side, I found myself responding to those areas, having taken responsibility to try to beautify the neighborhood and draw attention to the parts of our community that were in neglect.”

Kaulen has lived and worked in Pittsburgh for over 30 years, and began doing sculptural work in the mid-to-late 1990s. He currently runs a program that teaches high school students welding and sculpture, known as Mobile Sculpture Workshop.

Return of the Geese

The containment being used by blasting and painting contractors as part of the job moved over the tower with the geese in recent weeks, and the geese were blasted off the structure earlier this week, according to photos supplied to PaintSquare Daily News. But the vote in County Council cleared a route for them to migrate back home at the end of the job—over the objections of some.

Councilperson Sue Means, R-Bethel Park, one of those who voted against the return of the geese, said, “When he did it 23 [years] ago, it was graffiti and he did not have permission to do it and I'm really concerned we are memorializing graffiti and encouraging other artists to go up on our bridges and put themselves in harm's way.”

While county officials have signaled their approval for the Kaulen may need state and contractor approvals before the geese can be repainted.

   

Tagged categories: Bridges; Government; Infrastructure; NA; North America; Program/Project Management; Rehabilitation/Repair

Comment from Anthony Koontz, (7/13/2018, 5:33 AM)

I would like to get in touch with the artist to donate the coatings.


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