By Portia Williams
The painting of the Carl Perkins Bridge is in its final stages, according to George Agelidakis, Quality Control/Safety Director for Vimas Painting Company, Inc., the company hired by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet to complete the painting job. The Bridge will open as scheduled on Nov. 15, 2015.
“The bridge has been fully blasted and painted. This is the final coat. I like to call it a battleship color, similar to battleship gray,” Agelidakis said. “It is federal standard color, which actually has a ten-digit number associated with it as well, but what we are doing here is putting on the final touches, it’s in its final stages. November 15th is the date that we will open it up to the public, but we are little bit ahead of schedule.”
He said there are three coats of paint that have been applied to the 600,000 square foot bridge.
“If there is any touch up necessary, we put the second coat on there, and then come through and put the final coat on,” he said.
Ageldakis said during the course of the process, any roughness that is detected is sanded down. The painting process for the bridge has been going on for the last five months.
“We have been here since April 15th, and we worked six days per week,” he said. “The weather was outrageous this year, there was a lot of thunderstorms, and so we worked a lot of Sundays, 10 to 12 hours a day, just trying to get the work done within the deadline.”
Shutting the bridge down was advantageous, according to Agelidakis.
“It really, does help that they shut down the Bridge, and allowed us to work freely on the Bridge, otherwise we would have had to build safe passage for people to pass by, and tunnels, different platforms,” he said. “This way, we knocked it out from April to now, and it’s done.”
According to Allen Blair, Public Information Officer for Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, District 9, failure to close the bridge would have meant more problems.
“When the project started, there were two pathways basically, one was one lane to the bridge and keep part of it open, while the other half was being painted and then switch all of that,” Blair said. “But to do that, you’d have to signalize each sign. With the length of this bridge, and the amount of traffic we were looking at creating large traffic problems on the Ohio side especially and on the Kentucky side as well. Plus, it would have at least doubled the time that it would have taken to paint the bridge. You would be talking about one lane traffic with maybe 15 minutes of wait time on either side for more than one year. So, the decision was made to shut it down entirely. We talked with the city of Portsmouth about that and their concerns and tried to address them, and we came up with a plan that it was best in the long run to do this as quickly as possible, to reduce the traffic impact into a shorter period of time.”
According to Blair, generally, there is a 20 to 30 year life span on painting cycle.
“The paint may last longer than that, but generally try to stick with a 20 to 30 year painting cycle, depending upon the type of bridge, and this one is rather large,” Blair said.
There are multiple standards must be met by the State of Kentucky as well.
“The paint is tested by the State of Kentucky just to make sure that it has the cohesiveness and all to meet all of the standards, but there are three coats of paint here, the primer, the intermediate, and the finish,” Agelidakis said. “The finish is a urethane, the other two are epoxy, and the epoxy is the protective coating, and that is what is going to make this bridge last another 30, or 40 years.”
Agelidakis estimates that at least 12 to 14 thousand gallons of paint were utilized for the project.
“If I had to estimate, I would say that we used somewhere between 12 to 14 thousand gallons of paint to coat this bridge,” Ageldakis said. “Because it is not just what you see here, there is also underneath the bridge, there are large steal members that are eight feet high that support this deck. There are steel girders that run the length of the bridge, and also the complete width. If you look over the side of the bridge there is what you call the lower cord, so the floor beams support the weight of the concrete deck, and the traveling public, which is called a through truss.”
Blair said the price tag to paint the Carl Perkins Bridge is 7 million dollars.
Reach Portia Williams at 740-353-3101, ext. 1929, or on Twitter @PortiaWillPDT.