For many years painting the Forth Bridge has been synonymous with a never ending task. The reason was that as soon as a team finished painting the bridge it was time to start the mammoth task all over again.
But come December the use of a new type of paint that lasts for 25 years will mean that there will be no painters on the bridge and no immediate need to restart painting.
A 200-strong team has been applying a triple layer of new glass flake epoxy paint, which is similar to that used in the offshore oil industry. It creates a chemical bond to provide a virtually impenetrable layer that protects the bridge’s steel work from the weather. The new paint has been applied in three protective coats after the old layers were removed using an abrasive blasting technique.
The refurbishment of the famous crossing between North and South Queensferry has taken 10 years and an investment of around £130m.
David Simpson, Network Rail Scotland’s route managing director, said: “Over the last decade the bridge has been restored to its original condition and its new paint will preserve the steelworks for decades to come.
“Now, with scaffolding being removed and the final sections of painting being completed, we’re confident that job will be finished before Christmas.”
The bridge, which was nominated as a Unesco world heritage site earlier this year, carries the east coast main line across the Forth Estuary and sees up to 200 train journeys a day. It was built between 1883 and 1890, and is 1.5 miles long.