Never-end­ing task no more

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - One Long Job -

The paint­ing of the Forth Rail Bridge was once a job fa­mous for never be­ing fin­ished and coined a cliche that any seem­ingly never-end­ing job was “like paint­ing the Forth bridge”.

But that changed when a spe­cial­ist coat­ing sys­tem de­vel­oped by Leighs Paints was ap­plied by a 400-strong team of work­men over 10 years at a cost of more than £130m. They fin­ished the huge re­fur­bish­ment project in De­cem­ber 2011.

The glass-flake epoxy coat­ing used is ex­pected to last at least 25 years, end­ing the tra­di­tion of con­tin­u­ously paint­ing the bridge.

Old lay­ers of paint were re­moved us­ing abra­sive blast­ing and steel­work re­quir­ing main­te­nance was re­paired be­fore the new paint was ap­plied in three pro­tec­tive lay­ers.

Leighs Paints said the paint sys­tem, pri­mar­ily used in the off­shore in­dus­try, al­lows the coat­ing to bond with the me­tal to keep mois­ture out.

The can­tilever Forth Rail Bridge, the sec­ond long­est such bridge in the world, is a Unesco World Her­itage Site. It has a paint­ing area of 230,000 sq me­tres and needed 240,000 litres of paint to cover it.

The steel struc­ture, which con­tains more than 6.5 mil­lion riv­ets, was opened on March 4, 1890, by the Prince of Wales, the fu­ture Ed­ward VII, and is one and a half miles long.

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