The Golden Gate Bridge Receives a Renovation That Will Take Years to Complete

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The Golden Gate Bridge is receiving what its caregivers call a major renovation. The task involves repainting the two main suspension cables; something that will take years to complete and is the first such work done to the cables since the bridge opened in 1937.


According to KGO, maintenance workers have to first scrape the old paint off the cables—which are responsible for holding the bridge in place—and vacuum those chips up. Then workers will go and slap a fresh coat of that famous red paint on the exposed steel. Under normal circumstances, only touchup paint work is carried out.

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This job, which is vital to the preservation of the bridge, will be completed in sections. In addition to making the bridge visually appealing, the paint protects the cables—which house 80,000 miles of wire—from corrosion. It's important the cables are kept in good shape because they're the primary support which holds the bridge is in place.

Bikers and pedestrians may face obstructions and closed off areas, but motor traffic will be unaffected by this work. [KGO 7]

Photo Credit: Salim Viriji/Flickr



They are dramatizing this a bit. It's just a big painting project, nothing more. The cables actually consist of a massive number of thin steel strands bundled together, sealed against moisture, and then encased in a steel cylinder. The steel cylinder is what they are painting, and it's not really a cable. The cables are inside and have not seen the light of day since the bridge was built (thankfully, since it's foggy and salty there). Though it was interesting for me to learn that the paint on the casing now is mostly original. I always assumed they had repainted the cable several times over by now.

My cousin worked on the seismic retrofit of the bridge a decade ago, and I have two original rivets from the bridge in my possession. One has orange paint on the head of it, and I'm wondering now if that's original or a repaint. If it's original, I can only imagine the amount of lead in it.