Originally Posted Online: Sept. 06, 2012, 7:53 pm
Last Updated: Sept. 06, 2012, 8:00 pm

I-74 bridge's paint job behind schedule

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By Stephen Elliott, selliott@qconline.com

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Photo: Paul Colletti
Traffic passes the painting work underway on the east-bound span of the I-74 bridge on Thursday. The $10 million paint job is about 30 days behind schedule, according to the Iowa Department of Transportation.

A $10 million paint job of the Interstate 74 Mississippi River bridge is about 30 days behind schedule, officials said Thursday.

Iowa Department of Transportation construction engineer Mark Brandl said the project is supposed to be completed this year. "Whether or not that will happen is up to the contractor's progress," he said.

Mr. Brandl said Tarpon Industrial Inc., of Tarpon Springs, Fla., is about 30 days behind schedule, according to a consultant inspector monitoring the project. He said the Iowa DOT is trying to find the reason for the delay, adding Tarpon could face penalties if it fails to meet the schedule.

Tarpon representatives didn't return a phone call seeking comment.

The painting is designed to address rust and corrosion problems on the bridge. Mr. Brandl said Tarpon is not painting the bridge's main towers but will paint the main cable on the suspension span.

Iowa and Illinois are splitting the $10 million-plus painting tab. A similar project cost $5.4 million in 1997. Mr. Brandl said the bridge is on a 10- to 15-year repainting cycle.

"We're hoping we get a new bridge before we have to paint it again," Mr. Brandl said.

The total cost of replacing the bridge is estimated at more than $1 billion. The westbound half of the bridge was built in 1935 and the eastbound in 1960. Both sides were reconstructed in 1975.