Guy West Bridge will undergo restoration project to remove lead-based paint

Kathleen Pizzo

The city of Sacramento will make numerous restorations to the Guy West bridge during the spring semester, including a removal of the original lead based paint that has deteriorated since the bridge was built.

“Primarily, it’s a bridge paint job,” said Max Katt, an associate engineer at the Sacramento based Quincy Engineering.

Quincy is one of the firms collaborating in the restoration.

“The existing paint has lead based materials and other hazardous materials that need to be fully removed before they can be replaced by a modern paint system. The existing paint is faded, cracked and losing adhesion and is no longer protecting the steel and doing its job to prevent corrosion,” said Katt.

Katt also said if the paint is not restored soon, it will continue to erode the bridge and may become a bigger problem.

The lead based paint will be contained and disposed of using hazardous material standards. The process will be closely monitored to ensure the safety of the surroundings, those working on the bridge and pedestrians who come into contact with the bridge during the restorations.

Other repairs to the bridge include work on the suspension cables, the deck and railings and the loose utility conduit. The entire project carries an estimated cost of $3.2 million.

The city will make adjustments to avoid inconveniences to those who frequently use the bridge because it will be completely shut down at times.

Quincy Engineering conducted an environmental assessment to determine what impacts the construction will have on its surroundings.

Because of the lengthy durations of the project, Quincy Engineering and the city have developed plans to avoid completely shutting down the bridge for extended periods of time.

“Now that the restorations have been planned, it’s all about minimizing impact,” said Kim Pallari, director of public involvement for HDR Engineering, who was hired by the city to maintain community outreach.

Construction has been separated into two phases to allow for work on one side of the bridge at a time. Katt said there will be at least an 8-foot minimum walkway on the bridge through the majority of construction.

“There will be times, due to overhead work for the public safety, that we’ll have to close the bridge completely for short durations,” Katt said. “When that happens, people will have to detour over to the H Street bridge as an alternate river crossing.”

During the brief full bridge closures, the primary crossing route will be the H Street bridge and the public will be notified with signage ahead of time. In order to get to the alternate bridge, a walk across the levee will be necessary.

“The reason alternate routes were created was to avoid inconveniences for students,” said Ricky Chuck, the project manager for the City of Sacramento. “We will be in contact with Sacramento State staff as well.”

Chuck said the city is dedicated to keeping the bridge open as much as possible.

Because the Campus Commons are located just on the other side of the bridge from campus, some students utilize the bridge to get to class. Though a majority of construction will occur over summer, it will run into both the spring and fall semesters.

The bridge, built in 1966, has not undergone maintenance since 2000 when adjustments to the handrails were made.

Kevin Mackey, who works in the Office of Human Resources, lives across the bridge and walks it daily. Mackey attended an open house for the Guy West Restoration Project because he was interested in how construction would affect his daily routine.

“From what I have seen, it won’t be too inconvenient,” Mackey said. “It takes about 10 minutes to get to campus now and without the bridge it would only take 15.”

Mackey said he hopes the city will maintain contact with Sac State to ensure the convenience of students who utilize the bridge daily.

Logan Thomas, a senior religious studies major, said though the restorations are inconvenient, they are necessary.

“If it was closed anytime I tried to cross it, it would make my life more difficult,” Thomas said. “Since I’m leaving next year I might as well suffer for a year so that the next people that come along can have the benefit.”