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The Color of History: When the Brooklyn Bridge is Your Canvas


By Guerman Vainblat, P.E., Greenman-Pedersen, Inc. and Timur Kolchinskiy, E.I.T., Hirani Group

Presented at SSPC 2015; Session: Bridge Painting and Protection; Session chair: Mark Hudson, The Sherwin-Williams Company

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Choosing the right colors for any paint job is very important, and can be fun. Remember when you were a child and got a coloring book for your birthday? Imagine if your canvas for coloring wasn’t bound pages, but rather the amazing Brooklyn Bridge. Wouldn’t that be exciting? However, that choice was made 131 years ago, and we need to maintain it to preserve The Color of History, which can be a real challenge. This study brought to a close what we call our “Brooklyn Bridge Trilogy,” a trio of papers outlining the challenges faced on a project of the magnitude of Brooklyn Bridge Contract 6 and some of the methods used to solve them. Starting, with our first presentation, a general project overview, and continuing in our second work by focusing on abating the existing lead-based paint on the steel structure, with this presentation we came to a logical conclusion of the project portrayal, new multi-coat systems application. How much paint does it take to paint the Brooklyn Bridge, and what paint systems are used to provide sufficient corrosion protection and give this magnificent structure the proper aesthetic? What challenges did the project team face during the course of the project? The answers to these questions, and more, will be found in this presentation and technical paper, which will provide statistical analyses of paint usage and illustrate the history of coating materials application throughout the project duration.

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