Feb. 29, 2016 By Jackie Strawbridge
Despite a push from Astoria’s elected officials, Amtrak has stated that it does not believe repainting the faded Hell Gate Bridge is necessary.
Last week, U.S. Reps Joe Crowley and Carolyn Maloney, State Sen. Michael Gianaris, Assembly Member Aravella Simotas and Council Member Costa Constantinides wrote a letter requesting that Amtrak complete a “fresh, uniform coat of paint” for the bridge ahead of its centennial anniversary.
Construction on the famously durable bridge was completed in September 1916. It has only been fully repainted once in its 100-year history, in 1996 at a cost of $55 million, with a special “Hell Gate Red” color that faded almost immediately.
“Despite its superior design and historic significance, the Hell Gate Bridge has been allowed to take on an unbecoming appearance,” the officials wrote. “[It] stands today covered in a patchwork of pink, beige, and brown. Given the significance of this year in the history of the bridge, and Queens’s burgeoning identity as a premier tourist destination, we believe that the time is right to turn Hell Gate into another jewel adorning New York City’s waterfront.”
However, Amtrak spokesperson Craig Schulz told the Astoria Post in an e-mail: “While the paint that was applied to the main span in 1996 has discolored, the judgment of the Amtrak Engineering Department is that the paint still provides adequate protection of the steel and is preventing structure deterioration.”
“The current condition of the paint will allow it to continue providing the level of protection for some years to come,” Schulz added.