The Seattle Department of Transportation has been painting the steel parts of the First Avenue South and Fourth Avenue South bridges over the Argo Railroad Yard in Seattle’s south industrial area.
Next week the Fourth Avenue South Bridge will be narrowed down to one lane in each direction at night to paint the steel railings. This activity is scheduled for April 15-17, Tuesday through Thursday, from 8 p.m. until midnight each evening.
In addition to the railings, the contractor is painting the structural steel components on the underside of both bridges, expected to have minimal impact on traffic. SDOT’s contractor plans to complete the work by the end of May.
Painting these two bridges is challenging. There is a lot of surface to paint—both are more than 2,000 feet long. Also, there is little clearance between the bottom of the bridges and the trains. A railroad flagger lets the crews working on the underside of the bridge know when a train is coming to they can move out of the way.
The bridges over the Argo yard provide safe passage of traffic over the tracks, avoiding conflict with trains. Before the first bridge over the yards was constructed in the late 1920’s, pedestrians, vehicles and horses had to cross the Argo Railroad Yard using a surface street. SDOT rehabilitated the Airport Way South Bridge over the Argo yards in 2012.
This project is part of SDOT’s ongoing asset preservation effort that provides for the periodic painting of each of the City’s structural steel bridges to minimize corrosion.