Part of Mackinac Bridge to be re-painted, will impact traffic - WNEM TV 5

Part of Mackinac Bridge to be re-painted, will impact traffic

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Part of the Mackinac Bridge is getting a new paint job.

For the first time in its 60-year history, the north tower will be stripped down to bare metal and painted.

Beginning April 6 contractors will begin a nearly two-year project to remove the original ivory paint and repaint it.

"Fans of the bridge should be relieved to know that when this project is done, the tower will still be the same classic ivory that everyone recognizes," said MBA Executive Secretary Bob Sweeney. "Apart from brightening the appearance of the bridge, a quality painting project goes a long way toward ensuring the bridge is protected from the elements."

The project will begin with stripping and painting on some of the tower's interior "cells," followed by installation of an enclosure on the outside of the tower in late April or early May.

The original paint is lead-based and the contractor is required to contain all of it as it is removed, test it, and ship it to an appropriate landfill facility.

The new paint, which is zinc-based, is expected to last at least 35 years with periodic maintenance.

Contractor Seaway Painting, which most recently repainted the bridge's south approach span, was awarded the contract with a low bid of just less than $6.3 million.

The work is required to be done by Dec. 31, 2018, although Sweeney said they hope to get most of the painting done this year, if the weather allows.

During painting, the outside two lanes of the bridge near the north tower will be closed to stage equipment.

Sweeney said closures on the northbound lanes will be lifted on Fridays and on southbound lanes on Sundays during the peak traffic weekends.

Lane closures also will be removed as needed for other high traffic volume times, such as holidays.

The MBA also plans to have the south tower stripped and painted beginning in 2019.

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