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Geese Roost Once Again on PA Bridge

Friday, October 19, 2018

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The graffiti geese of Pittsburgh’s 10th Street Bridge have once again come to roost thanks to approval from the Allegheny County Council and the original artist repainting the geese on the bridge this past weekend.

Artist Tim Kaulen, wearing a safety harness in the bucket of a 120-foot lift, working with assistant Brandon Barber, brought the geese back to life on Sunday (Oct. 14). The work took roughly eight hours from start to finish.

Bridge Geese Saga

The $20 million rehabilitation of the 10th Street Bridge covered the replacement of the bridge deck and painting, among other repairs. The bridge was opened in 1933 and is 1,275 feet long. It's 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.

While much of the rehab job was conventional, one aspect of the work piqued the interest of Kaulen and others in the community: The repainting of the towers that would presumably result in the eradication of the four geese, which are often confused for dinosaurs.

Returning to Roost

Before the vote that would approve the repainting of the geese, Kaulen expressed distress at the idea that the birds might disappear as the bridge was rehabilitated. His wife, Suzanne Pace, suggested at the time that he contact city and county officials, but Kaulen maintains that it was the nearly 1,000-signature petition that allowed the geese to return to roost.

Though the 10th Street Bridge is still closed to vehicular traffic, onlookers gathered as the artists worked alongside licensed lift operator Mike Secilia. Prep work took up most of the eight hours of labor, which included cleaning, placing the magnetic stencils, taping and cutting away the guides. Painting each goose only took about five minutes per bird.

According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Kaulen modeled the geese after hunting decoys his grandfather made. Kaulen also noted that he never expected that something he made in his youth would have such longevity.

“This is part of people’s experiences,” he told the Post-Gazette. “They give it meaning. Artists can’t do that.”

Work on the bridge is expected to wrap up by the end of this year.


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

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