Painting work on the Forth Bridge that began in 2002 will finally come to an end on 9 December this year, ahead of schedule, Balfour Beatty Regional Civil Engineering has said.
Network Rail and main contractor Balfour Beatty Regional Civil Engineering will preside over what they are calling “the end of a modern myth” when the refurbishment work is completed. Painting of the bridge will likely not begin again for over 20 years.
“The current restoration work has been ongoing since 2002 but, owing to years of underinvestment during the 1970s and 1980s, the scale of the job was initially unclear,” said Network Rail Scotland route managing director David Simpson. “Now, with scaffolding being removed and the final sections of painting being completed, we’re confident that job will be finished before Christmas.”
After 10 years and an investment of over £130M, the bridge will finally be free of scaffolding. Network Rail said this represents an end to the idiom that “if repairing or improving something is like painting the Forth Bridge, it takes such a long time that by the time you have finished doing it, you have to start again”.
Forth Bridge facts
Age of Bridge
Opened 1890 (121 years old)
Length of Bridge
Main structure (portal to portal): 1.63km
Height of Bridge
High water to top: 110m
Foundation to top: 137m
Weight of steel in bridge: 53,000t
Number of rivets: 6.5M
Concrete and masonry in piers: 91,746m³ faced with 610mm thick granite
Number of trains per day: 200
Number of passengers per year: 3M
Painting the bridge
Painting area: 230,000m²
Volume of paint used: 240,000l
Lighting the bridge
Total number of lights installed: 1,040 lights
Length of cabling required: between 35km and 40km