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Balfour Beatty ends Forth Bridge paint myth

The modern myth that the Forth Bridge requires constant repainting will finally be squashed this December when Balfour Beatty Regional Civil Engineering completes the job.

The main contractor is coming to the end of a 10-year, £130 million project which will leave the bridge free of scaffolding and unlikely to need a full paint job for another 20 years.

The current contract will be completed ahead of schedule on Friday 9 December 2011.

A celebration event to mark the end of the refurbishment will take place in March 2012.

Network Rail Scotland route managing director David Simpson said:  “The current restoration work has been ongoing since 2002 but, owing to years of underinvestment during the 70s and 80s, the scale of the job was initially unclear.

“Now, with scaffolding being removed and the final sections of painting being completed, we’re confident that job will be finished before Christmas.”

The paint used on the bridge has been used in the past on North Sea oil rigs.

Mr Simpson said he expected to survive more than 20-years, but said route maintenance would continue to the “most exposed sections of the structure”.

Balfour Beatty was tasked with removing old layers of paint applied over the last 120-years using an abrasive blasting technique.

The steelwork was then repaired, before the new paint was applied in three protective layers.

Balfour Beatty Regional Civil Engineering managing director Marshall Scott said:  “Balfour Beatty is delighted to have played such a significant part in the restoration of the iconic Forth Bridge over the last 10 years.

“By working together in a close relationship, Balfour Beatty Regional Civil Engineering, Network Rail, the principal subcontractors and the workforce involved in undertaking this complex programme of restoration have successfully delivered a project requiring safe systems of work to overcome some of the most difficult of working conditions.

“The now fully restored Forth Bridge will continue to operate for many decades to come and it will provide the world renowned image that Scotland can be rightfully proud.”

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