Blasters Go Rogue, Clean Part of 'Graffiti Bridge'

FRIDAY, JANUARY 5, 2018


James Romero, of Gulf Breeze, Florida, is a professional blaster with an agenda—to see how many layers of paint actually cover Pensacola's locally famous Graffiti Bridge.

According to the Pensacola News Journal, Romero’s estimate of “hundreds” of layers actually fell short of the mark.

Graffiti Bridge

Romero, part of the family that runs wet abrasive blasting contractor Absolute Dustless Blasting LLC, stopped by the bridge with his father after a job in Pensacola one day. Romero told the News Journal that since he and his father got into the blasting industry, they’ve wondered how thick the paint on the Graffiti Bridge was.

"So we said, 'Yeah, let's just go do a little a spot.' And when we did it, it blew my mind how thick it really was, how deep it really was."

Romero used a mixture that was 95 percent water and five percent crushed glass for the blasting, which yielded two golf-ball-sized spots. Each spot is reminiscent of a tree ring circle, in the layers of paint revealed, with each area about four inches thick.

Romero noted that the experimental power washing he did was on a section of the wall that didn’t get painted normally. From his estimate, the paint on the main section of the bridge is likely twice as thick.

Legal Concerns

While the experiment was informative, some have raised concerns as to its legality.

"Some people messaged me and said I should be thrown in jail, I'm defacing public property and all this stuff," Romero told the News Journal. "One, it's not a historical landmark. It's a public landmark. We weren't there to destroy the bridge, we were there really to gain knowledge."

Graffiti Bridge, also known as the 17th street CSX Railroad Trestle, is exempt from the statute that protects public property from defacement, noted the News Journal.

In light of the experiment, Romero has since questioned the safety of the bridge, given the addition of thousands of pounds of paint over the years.

When asked about safety concerns, a CSX spokesperson told the News Journal that the company conducts "a thorough examination of every bridge on our network at least once each calendar year,” which meets or exceeds regulatory and legal mandates.

Romero added that, if the city was interested in removing the rest of the paint from the bridge, given how high passions seem to run in relation to the paint-covered landmark, his company is not the one to call.

   

Tagged categories: Bridges; Graffiti; Graffiti removal; Infrastructure; NA; North America; Power washing; Surface Preparation; Surface preparation

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