THE Forth Bridge is set to become scaffold-free after it was announced that the painting of the bridge is about to come to an end.
After 10 years and an investment of over £130m, the bridge painting process is finally over with a full paint job unlikely to be required again for over 20 years.
The current contract will be completed ahead of schedule on Friday, December 9, and Network Rail plan to mark the end of the refurbishment with a celebration in March 2012.
David Simpson, route managing director, Network Rail Scotland said: “The current restoration work has been ongoing since 2002 but, owing to years of under-investment during the 70s and 80s, the scale of the job was initially unclear. Now, with scaffolding being removed and the final sections of painting being completed, we’re confident that job will be finished before Christmas.
“The paint system being used on the bridge has been used in the past on North Sea oil rigs. We expect it to last in excess of 20 years but we will be back from time to time to maintain the most exposed sections of the structure.”
Marshall Scott, managing director, Balfour Beatty Regional Civil Engineering, added: “Balfour Beatty is delighted to have played such a significant part in the restoration of the iconic Forth Bridge over the last 10 years. The now fully restored Forth Bridge will continue to operate for many decades to come and it will provide the world renowned image that Scotland can be rightfully proud.”
The completion of the painting contract by Balfour Beatty has also been welcomed by Queensferry and District Community Council. Chairman Keith Giblett said: “We are pleased to see the scaffolding removed to reveal the iconic structure at its best but, more importantly, we want to thank Balfour Beatty for the great support they have given to local groups and community projects over the period.”
The repainting project involved more than the straightforward application of another layer of paint. Scaffolding access was erected and screened off from the environment before old layers of paint applied over the last 120 years were removed using an abrasive blasting technique. Steelwork requiring maintenance was then repaired before the new paint applied in three protective layers. Work on the 121 year old bridge was undertaken by over 300 workers and over 240,000 litres of paint were used to cover the 230,000 sq metres surface.