Built to rust
The new $4.3 million Conant Street Railroad Bridge in Pawtucket took 25 years to complete, so it only stands to reason that some city residents would inspect the structure with a critical eye.
After hearing from one of my trusty tipsters that a “little bird” informed him that the metal on the bridge is “totally rusty,” I thought a little explanation might be helpful.
For anyone concerned at the fact that the new bridge has rusted over just a month after it opened, fear no longer. This bridge is not due to be replaced again for another century. It turns out the span is built with the same type of weathering steel that covers the outside of the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. That building “already looks as if it has aged decades," according to a story in the Business Insider.
“The steel develops a layer of rust which protects the metal against moisture, and slows the corrosion process,” it states. “The result is a tawny hue that stains the concrete below orange as the steel drips - not exactly a passerby's dream.”
A Rhode Island Department of Transportation spokesperson told me last year that the weathering steel on the new Conant Street bridge allows it to rust over so as not to require as much maintenance going forward. In other words, it may not be the prettiest bridge ever, and is certainly no Pawtucket River Bridge with its arts-inspired lights, but there will be no need for paint jobs.