Scientists agree that the color red is an attention getter, which is why the new $51 million Topeka Boulevard Bridge is getting noticed for its aesthetic design that features an advanced technology fluoropolymer coating from Tnemec. “The project’s engineer knew enough about the color red to realize that he didn’t want to see the bridge turn pink over time,” recalled Tnemec coating consultant Rick Penner. “After searching for the best performing coating in terms of gloss and color retention, he determined that fluoropolymer technology was best suited for the application and used it as the standard for the specification.”
The bridge’s outside beams were prepared by the steel fabricator in accordance with SSPC-SP6/NACE 3 Commercial Blast Cleaning and primed with Series 90-97 Tneme-Zinc, an advanced, two-component, moisture-cured zinc-rich urethane. “Tneme-Zinc is an organic zinc that was chosen for its ease of application and ability to be touched up on the job site,” Penner noted. “It was also used to touch up the welds, bolt patterns and knuckles where the steel connects to the concrete base.”
After the bridge was constructed, the outside beams received an intermediate coat of Series 1075 Endura-Shield II, an aliphatic acrylic polyurethane, followed by a finish coat of Fluoronar, a high-solids fluoropolymer coating that provides an ultra-durable finish. “The intermediate and finish coats were both red, but slightly different in color,” Penner advised. “This was necessary so the applicators could ensure complete coverage by the finish coat without leaving skippers.” Both the intermediate and finish coats were brush- and roller- applied.
Nearly 1,000 gallons of primer, 300 gallons of intermediate coating and 300 gallons of finish coating were required to complete the project, Penner shared. “The majority of the bridge is over land, so most of the application work was done from lifts,” according to Penner. “They used rigging suspended from the sides of the bridge for sections that extended over water.”
“Application was not a problem at all because of the user-friendly characteristics of Fluoronar compared to other types of coatings,” Penner added. “The final color was uniform and the project team was pleased with its final appearance.”
Topeka Boulevard Bridge is a main traffic artery connecting north and south Topeka. The need for the bridge was realized in 2001 when the deterioration of the old bridge became apparent.