YOU ASKED:I am wondering if this will be the year that the Overlanders Bridge will once again be blue?
I believe it has been several years since it was last cleaned and is now a poor representative of our beautiful city.
- M. Lederer
OUR ANSWER:Longtime Kamloops residents will remember the railings on the Overlanders Bridge being blue at one time - not the grey they are today.
Jim McNeely, the City manager whose department is responsible for bridge maintenance, tells us the railings were removed about 15 years ago to be sandblasted, painted and hot-dip galvanized in an effort to solve a recurring issue with the old paint.
"The painted railings were a continuous maintenance item, needing to be scraped and touched up and/or completely repainted on a regular basis," said McNeely.
"The salt and sand used to keep the roads safe in the winter wreak havoc on paint and unprotected steel."
In previous years, the railings were sandblasted or scraped while in place on the bridge, which was costly and caused a number of environmental concerns for the river.
That's why the City removed the railings and galvanized them so they wouldn't have to be painted again.
"The galvanizing is the silver-grey finish you see on the railings now," said McNeely.
"And it is significantly more resistant to the effects of chemical de-icers. Unfortunately (from your readers perspective) the railings will not likely ever be painted again."
There are also no plans to repaint the rest of the bridge, the part known as the sub-structure.
While that section shows some deterioration in the blue paint, it's structurally sound, with no corrosion showing.
Of course, the City inspects its bridges annually, so McNeely's team would be able to spot trouble early enough to fix it.