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Australia Bridge to be Repainted for the First Time

Monday, February 18, 2019

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Brisbane’s 79-year-old Story Bridge will be receiving its first new paint job, and the work is expected to take five years, according to reports. The structure’s paint had only been touched up previously.

According to the Brisbane Times, the 1-kilometer-long (roughly 0.6-mile) bridge will be kept the same steely-gray color; the work will cost roughly $80 million AUD ($57 million), requiring 33,000 liters of paint.

Story Bridge Paint Job

The cantilever bridge, which was built between May 1935 and July 1940, spans the Brisbane River, and originally cost 1.4 million pounds to build in early 1900s currency, which translates to $149 million AUD now. The bridge would cost close $1 billion AUD to build now, noted Lord mayor Graham Quirk.

Kate McDonald, CC BY-SA 1.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Brisbane’s 79-year-old Story Bridge will be receiving its first new paint job, and the work is expected to take five years, according to reports. The structure’s paint had only been touched up previously.

According to Australian Broadcasting Company News, the bridge was first recommended in a 1926 report, but due to a lack of funds, plans to build the bridge were put on hold. Construction began in 1934, in the middle of the Great Depression. A call for bids was issued in 1935; the contract was awarded to Evans Deakin-Hornibrook Constructions, totaling 1.15 million pounds ($2.3 million AUD).

The bridge will not close during painting work, which is slated to begin after the Riverfire, the end-of-September finale to the Brisbane festival. There will be some lane closures during different phases of the project, however.

Quirk noted that the bridge is the largest metal truss bridge in Australia, remaining “the largest steel bridge to be predominantly designed and built by Australians, from Australian materials.”

The bridge, now carrying roughly 30 million cars a year, was designed by engineer John Bradfield. Construction work used 12,000 tons of steel, and when the bridge was being built, workers were set in an airlock below ground level to build the footings.

“There will never be another Story Bridge and, with it now approaching its 80th year, it is vital that we undertake works so it can continue to help people get home quicker and safer,” said Quirk.

Editor's Note: Corrected bridge length information on Feb. 19, 2019, at 11:56 a.m. 
Editor's Note: Corrected the amount of paint on Feb. 19, 2019, at 1:30 p.m.


Tagged categories: Australia; Bridges; Infrastructure; OC; Program/Project Management; Project Management

Comment from trevor neale, (2/19/2019, 9:05 AM)

Remarkable durability are any records available of the original paint system available, and what is the system selected for the repaint..

Comment from Michael Halliwell, (2/19/2019, 11:48 AM)

Uhhhh...your decimal jumped. 1 km is 0.6 miles, not .06 miles. :) As for the original coating system, I would suspect a very high lead content, considering when it was built and based on contemporary bridge coating systems in use at the time.

Comment from Laura Kemmerer, (2/19/2019, 11:57 AM)

The information has been corrected. Thank you for bringing this to our attention, and thank you for reading!

Comment from David Kennicutt, (2/19/2019, 12:53 PM)

While you're in editing mode, suggest addressing the 33,000 tons of paint. Perhaps you meant 33,000 square meters?

Comment from Erik Andreassen, (2/20/2019, 6:54 PM)

All eyes will be on this from an environmental point of view, especially as the original coating was lead based.I hope that experts in the field are consulted by the specifier, regarding all surface preparation and material recommendations. Will Australia consider overseas contractors based in Asia?Be also interesting to see what warranty will be on the contract, as today's materials will never last as long as the original.

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