By Wayne Allen
The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet announced in April the beginning of a seven month, $7 million dollar project on the Carl D. Perkins Memorial Bridge at South Portsmouth, Kentucky. Because the work requires some specialized equipment and 12,000 gallons of industrial-grade paint, the bridge was closed to all traffic starting Wednesday, April 15, through Nov. 15, 2015.
According to Allen Blair, Information Officer for the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet District 9, project contractor, Vimas Painting Company Inc., has been working for just over a month now on the painting of the Bridge and work is on schedule.
“Site preparation work, including safety fencing, support structures for painting gear and tarps have been ongoing mostly along the middle span of the bridge. And, crews have been sandblasting work on sections of steel superstructure. They are also beginning to apply the primer coat of paint to some sections,” Blair said.
He said crews are sandblasting to remove the old paint which must be captured and properly disposed of according to project specifications. Once complete, crews will apply a primer coat of paint. A standard coat or coats of paint will follow according to project specifications. The process will repeat until the entire bridge is painted.
According to released information, “Steel bridges are regularly re-painted to prevent rust or corrosion from weakening the support structure. But, it’s not like painting a house. For the Carl Perkins Bridge, a 3,000-foot span crossing the Ohio River, specialty contractors will rig thousands of feet of scaffolding and climbing ropes to reach every inch of the bridge’s 600,000 square feet of supporting steel.”
During the seven-month closure the contractor will complete two paint applications and perform the needed detail work around thousands of bolts and connector plates to ensure there are no exposed steel surfaces.
Blair said when finished the bridge will be gray to match the existing paint color and is anticipated to protect the bridge from the elements for as long as 20 more years.
For more information about the project visit, http://transportation.ky.gov/district-9/Pages/perkins-bridge-detour.aspx.
Wayne Allen can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 1933 or on Twitter @WayneallenPDT