Forth Road Bridge to get first paint job since 1964

The Forth Road Bridge is to have its first full paint job since it opened in 1964.
Forth Road Bridge. Picture: Lisa FergusonForth Road Bridge. Picture: Lisa Ferguson
Forth Road Bridge. Picture: Lisa Ferguson

Transport Scotland has revealed that a trial is being developed to finally paint the bridge’s main truss deck in its entirety.

The work, which has previously been estimated at costing around £65 million, is expected to take more than ten years to complete, although it appears that a team of specialist painters are going to get to work on the structure later this year.

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Most traffic – apart from public transport and pedestrians – now uses the new £1.35 billion Queensferry Crossing, which opened last year, instead of the 44-year-oldForth Road Bridge.

Transport Scotland confirmed that the painting programme has been included on a list of tasks to be carried out on the Forth Road Bridge over the coming years in an update to the Scottish Government’s rural economy and connectivity committee.

Michelle Rennie, major transport infrastructure projects director at Transport Scotland, said: “The FRB main truss deck has never been painted since the time of its construction completion in 1964.

“A series of small programmed patch repairs are routinely undertaken by the in-house painting team, however an extensive programme of major painting and steelwork repair and refurbishment works are required to the exposed areas of steel.

“At present, a trial is being developed for implementation in 2018.

“This will then be used to inform the future long-term painting and repair/refurbishment works that may be undertaken over a period of up to ten years.”

The bridge’s category A-listed status means that bridge chiefs have been left with just one colour option – grey – and the existing pigment will have to be removed before fresh coats are applied.

Painting is not the only work programmed for the Forth Road Bridge though, with an intrusive investigation and inspection of the bridge’s main cables to determine the condition of the internal wires due to get under way during the spring.

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After a problem with a truss end link prompted the bridge’s emergency closure in December 2015, a contract to replace the remaining seven truss end links was tendered and awarded last summer and that work is due to be completed by the end of May.