Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Forth Bridge painting completed

The painting of the Forth Bridge has finally been completed and the structure is now scaffold-free for the first time in a decade.

The repair and repainting project to paint the rail bridge took 10 years and cost £130m.

It has been claimed it will not now need another paint job for at least 25 years. New techniques and products are behind the project's success.

A 400-strong team applied a triple layer of new glass flake epoxy paint.

It creates a chemical bond to provide a virtually impenetrable layer to protect the bridge's steel work from the weather.

The project, delivered by Network Rail and main contractor Balfour Beatty Regional Civil Engineering, involved encasing the bridge in up to 4,000 tonnes of scaffolding, painting over 230,000sqm of steel and all 6.5 million rivets in the structure.

Over the life of the project more than 1,500 people worked on the structure, with up to 400 people a day on the bridge at the height of the refurbishment works.

Forth Rail Bridge
A 400-strong team applied a triple layer of new glass flake epoxy paint

David Simpson, Network Rail route managing director for Scotland, said: "The completion of this refurbishment will safeguard the future of one of the country's most famous landmarks.

"Repainting the bridge has long been considered one of the world's never-ending tasks, and the refurbishment programme we have just completed has been one of the biggest engineering challenges Network Rail has faced.

"Our staff and contractors can take real pride in their achievements on this project, not least in the fact that through their efforts this amazing structure will remain free of major maintenance work for at least two decades."

The bridge, which was built between 1883 and 1890, is 1.5 miles long.

The track is about 150ft (45m) above the water level and the bridge reaches 330ft (100m) at the tops of the towers.

The steel structure contains more than 6.5 million rivets.

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