2017-11-09 / Front Page

Bridge Painting To Continue in Winter


The north tower painting project at the Mackinac Bridge is about half done, and work will continue for as long as possible into the winter. The scaffolding on the west leg of the tower is shown (right) during a brief traffic stop on the bridge Thursday morning, October 26. The north tower painting project at the Mackinac Bridge is about half done, and work will continue for as long as possible into the winter. The scaffolding on the west leg of the tower is shown (right) during a brief traffic stop on the bridge Thursday morning, October 26. Painting of the north tower of the Mackinac Bridge will continue for as long as possible this winter, Mackinac Bridge Authority (MBA) Chief Engineer Kim Nowack told the MBA Board Thursday, October 26.

The project is about half done. Seaway Painting, the contractor for the project, used scaffolding to paint the lower parts of the towers. The contractor will use a movable platform designed by Ruby & Associates of Birmingham Farm and built by Moran Iron Works of Onaway to paint the upper portion of the tower. Supports on top of the tower will hold the platform. The device is similar to what was used to build the bridge, Ms. Nowack said.

Work areas will be sectioned off with tarps and heated to allow painting to continue for as long as possible.

Painting the north tower is expected to cost nearly $6.3 million.

The bridge also received a positive report during its 60th annual inspection from Modjeski and Masters, Ms. Nowack said. The report has yet to be finalized, but she noted the inspectors were pleased with the high level of maintenance and skill of the crew.

Some maintenance has occurred on the bridge this summer, as a portion of steel on the bridge’s travel rail had to be replaced. The travel rail, also called a traveler system, hangs below the bridge deck, is independent of the bridge, and non-structural. Maintenance crews use the rail to transport carts filled with tools that can travel along the length of the bridge. The traveler system was upgraded in 2000.

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