Bridge of Lions
The Bridge of Lions, built in 1927 and completely rehabilitated (2006-2010), is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Using hot-dip galvanized steel in the bridge rehabilitation extends the life of the Bridge. Stretching over the water, a long life was mandatory to minimize maintenance costs.
The Bridge of Lions arcs low over a body of salt water and constantly endures harsh conditions which only worsen during annual hurricane seasons. In order to reduce or eliminate maintenance in this harsh environment painted hot dip galvanizing was mandatory. The architect and engineers knew that simply specifying ASTM A123 was all that was necessary. All aspects of the coating application were contained in one simple specification.
The Florida Department of Transportation has limited funding, so high quality HSG coating helps insure minimal maintenance costs associated with the steel railings. Reduced maintenance eliminates disruption of foot and vehicle traffic on this heavily used bridge.
The lack of hdg on the 1927 installation required many repaintings of the railings. Architectural researchers painstakingly chipped away the multiple coats of paint to find the original color. The ease of painting over galvanizing made the duplex coating the right choice. The failure of the original paint coatings combined with the engineer’s recent success with other galvanized projects made galvanizing the only choice.
The quality of this high profile bridge was imperative. Powder coating brings out any imperfection in the hdg coating, so a smooth clean HDG coating was required for best appearance. The close proximity of pedestrian traffic also made visual appearance important.
After years of planning, a temporary bridge was constructed nearby while the Bridge of Loins was being replaced. It was necessary to process and stage material in as timely sequence as space was not available for storage. Turn time had to be immediate, timely and on schedule. Traffic disruptions were minimized by use of critical delivery and erection schedules. Even though the fabrication, galvanizing and top coating was done in Indiana, the tightly controlled processing schedule allowed shipping, receipt of material, storage and erection to meet the critical schedule.
Except for the old castle in St. Augustine, this the most important historic structure in the oldest city in North America. All eyes from the local authorities to the Governor of Florida were on every part of the bridge. The uniquely designed railing system was seen and touched by all involved. This landmark will be seen and used by tens of thousands of residents and tourists daily. On many projects in environmentally sensitive areas or where historically important considerations exist there can be conflicts. The use of sustainable galvanized materials that duplicated the original 1927 design appealed to both the environmental and historical considerations.
The rehabilitation of the Bridge of Lions was a key component of the City of St. Augustine’s extensive planning and goal to increase historic tourism for the City’s upcoming 450th birthday celebration. Future new construction and rehabilitation will use galvanizing based on the success of this project.