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Interstate bridges

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I asked this question in the Charlotte forum but got no answer:

Does anyone know WHY most all interstate overpass bridges are painted millitary green? I know some are millitary brown, but even they are very few. And in my travels I THINK I have seen at least one painted solid black (I want to say in Toledo -?-) I assume when the interstate system was first built after WWII, there could have been a surplus of paint from the wars. But now...? Are there stipulations I don't know about?

I've always thought a city could really look much more elegant, cleaner and inviting if it's overpasses were made to look like wrought iron - black or something of the like. It's a small thing, but it's always bugged me. Know what I mean?

Anyway. Feedback appreciated.

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I asked this question in the Charlotte forum but got no answer:

Does anyone know WHY most all interstate overpass bridges are painted millitary green? I know some are millitary brown, but even they are very few. And in my travels I THINK I have seen at least one painted solid black (I want to say in Toledo -?-) I assume when the interstate system was first built after WWII, there could have been a surplus of paint from the wars. But now...? Are there stipulations I don't know about?

I've always thought a city could really look much more elegant, cleaner and inviting if it's overpasses were made to look like wrought iron - black or something of the like. It's a small thing, but it's always bugged me. Know what I mean?

Anyway. Feedback appreciated.

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You know, maybe we could make them all kinds of colors. That would help brighten up long drives. But then again, so do graffiti taggers trying to figure out what they write on them.

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My dad used to work for SCDOT. The bridges were originally painted with silver oxide (I think that was the name) paint becuase it lasted much longer and greatly decreased corrosion. However, the environmentalists didn't like it and said it frightened the birds (no lie) and forced themn to paint the bridges that shade of green. Dad painted his next batch of bird boxes with silver oxide and (surprise, surprise) the birds didn't care at all.

BTW, the green paint doesn't inhibit corrosion near as much and the frequency of repaining is about twice what it once was.

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My dad used to work for SCDOT. The bridges were originally painted with silver oxide (I think that was the name) paint becuase it lasted much longer and greatly decreased corrosion. However, the environmentalists didn't like it and said it frightened the birds (no lie) and forced themn to paint the bridges that shade of green. Dad painted his next batch of bird boxes with silver oxide and (surprise, surprise) the birds didn't care at all.

BTW, the green paint doesn't inhibit corrosion near as much and the frequency of repaining is about twice what it once was.

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Everyone used to use red lead based primer also. Very good corrosion resistance also. But, the environmentalists worry about little children licking the bridges so no one can use lead based paint anymore :wacko: .

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Many bridges of the past were painted with silver oxide because it was not as prone to corrosion; it also did not fade or need repainting as often. The same could be said, I suppose, with the military green color, although I am not 100% certain.

In Kentucky, many of our bridges are constructed out of concrete. They were cheap and convenient; for instance, hundreds of 'arch spans' were constructed on our interstate highway system between the late 1950s through the 1970s. The regular painted girders that we do have are typically silver or a blueish color. In Ohio, the standard for years was silver oxide, but they have been using a light blue color for the last several years that looks remarkably more pleasant.

Then we have the Ohio River spans. Many between the states of Kentucky and Ohio and Ohio and West Virginia were battleship gray -- silver oxide. Cheap, convenient, and did not need repainting for 15-20 years. Except that it was BORING! The 13th Street Bridge in Ashland was repainted from a gray color to a bright blue this year; the adjacent 12th Street Bridge, which was also a gray color, is being painted a bright green. The Robert C. Byrd Bridge and the 17 Street West Bridge in Huntington were painted in green (the latter was a dull gray for years). The Ironton-Russell Bridge was silver, then a odd green color before becoming a light blue that is there today. In Cincinnati, you have the 'Purple People Bridge' -- it is painted purple, after all. The Big Mac Bridge is bright yellow.

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I grew up in Mid-Michigan and all the bridges were painted military green as well. There's sort of a "skyway" where I-675 passed through the downtown for about a mile that still has that green color. Many of the other overpasses have been painted different colors of the years when it came time for repainting.

The best bridge painting scheme I saw was where the concrete parapet walls and support structure were painted white to protect the concrete. The girders were painted a glossy black, and the 6-10 inch concrete fascia from the bridge deck that protrudes out past the railing or parapet wall is painted a dull honolulu blue.

I also don't mind bridges constructed with Corten steel. They are the pre-rusted type that appear as if they are painted brown.

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I grew up in Mid-Michigan and all the bridges were painted military green as well. There's sort of a "skyway" where I-675 passed through the downtown for about a mile that still has that green color. Many of the other overpasses have been painted different colors of the years when it came time for repainting.

I also don't mind bridges constructed with Corten steel. They are the pre-rusted type that appear as if they are painted brown.

I think the concern is more that the paint eventually erodes, carrying that lead residue into the surrounding soil. From there it eventually runs off into a variety of places, including local streams and storm drains. I'm all for mineral water, but I'd rather the mineral not be lead

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Over on the west side of the state we consider 675 in the "thumb, not Mid-Michigan" ;)

Corten is ok as long as it doesn't get wet, dry, get wet, and dry on a regular cyclical basis (like outdoors in the rain :( ). Add salt spray from road deicing and it never stops rusting - not a good material for highway bridges in the northern states.

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Is Corten still in use then? I really haven't seen any new overpasses constructed with it around Michigan I know I-94 between Ann Arbor and Detroit, M-10, I-696, I-275 and I-475 have Corten steel. I haven't seen much maintenance on any of them except for a new parapet wall or repainting of the concrete. I sure hope they aren't rusting still, or else we are in for some major bridge reconstruction in the future!

I wish the bridges here in Chicago could receive a layer of paint that LASTS. It seems like the color fades off fast and only take about a decade before it starts peeling like crazy.

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