Roads and Maritime Services maintains all steelwork on the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Protecting the intricate web of steelwork from corrosion is the most important factor in conserving the arch and approach spans.
Constant inspection is necessary and a variety of tradespeople are needed to help maintain the bridge. These trades include ironworkers, boilermakers, fitters, electricians, plasterers, carpenters, plumbers, riggers and painters.
Roads and Maritime Services goes to great effort to contain the paint dust and paint spray when stripping and reapplying new paint on the bridge. A number of platforms were built to give workers access to the bridge and to the steelwork beneath the pedestrian walkway and cycleway. The access platforms are fully enclosed and contain air extraction systems that remove and filter all airborne particles from the work area as shown in the image in the photo gallery.
Roads and Maritime Services always aims to reopen areas to public access as soon as work is complete and it is safe to do so.
The work involves removing the bridge's old paint and repainting 90,000 square metres of steelwork below the deck level of the southern approach spans. As part of this process, each layer requires a full day of drying time, making this project time consuming and heavily subject to weather conditions.
Regular repainting of the steelwork is an essential and ongoing part of the Sydney Harbour Bridge maintenance. Around 485,000 square metres of steelwork – the equivalent in area to 60 football fields – need to be painted, with 30,000 litres of paint required to give the bridge just one coat.
Roads and Maritime Services started repainting the southern approach spans on the Sydney Harbour Bridge in 2003. This work is currently scheduled for completion by April 2015, weather permitting.