Appliqués for the Maintenance of Lead-based Painted Bridges: A Laboratory Assessment of Field-performance Characteristics

Report No: 05-R4

Published in 2004

About the report:

Approximately 3,500 bridges in Virginia having steel superstructures are coated with lead-based paints. Many of these bridges are in need of paint maintenance. This research evaluated appliqué technology, an alternative to the conventional paradigm of bridge paint maintenance in which the lead-based paint is removed and the structure repainted. The results indicate that the barrier properties, self-cleaning characteristics, chemical stability, and thermal stability of the 3M 5004 Paint Replacement System are superior to those of conventional industrial maintenance paints. In addition, its use as a method to refurbish lead-based painted bridge structures reduces the quantity of lead introduced into the environment and the lead exposure of workers. The cost of the 3M system in pre-production is approximately $10.41 per square foot. Recent costs to remove lead-based paint and repaint typical bridges are approximately $8.00 per square foot. As a consequence, the project was terminated before the proposed work was completed. The report provides test results that should be useful should the system become economical.

Disclaimer Statement:The contents of this report reflect the views of the author(s), who is responsible for the facts and the accuracy of the data presented herein. The contents do not necessarily reflect the official views or policies of the Virginia Department of Transportation, the Commonwealth Transportation Board, or the Federal Highway Administration. This report does not constitute a standard, specification, or regulation. Any inclusion of manufacturer names, trade names, or trademarks is for identification purposes only and is not to be considered an endorsement.


  • S. R. Taylor, Christopher R. Standridge, Michael M. Sprinkel, P.E.

Last updated: November 28, 2023

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