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DHC is proud to have been awarded the Society of Protective Coating’s (SSPC) George Campbell Award, for work on the Fremont Bridge, in Seattle, WA.  This honor is bestowed as recognition of outstanding achievement in the completion of a difficult or complex industrial or commercial coatings project.

In an attempt to paint a clear picture, imagine yourself working on the underside of a car in the median of a busy street.  In addition, assume you are constantly interrupted by someone jacking the back end ten feet off the ground.  To further complicate your task, suppose you are not resting comfortably on the ground, but suspended from the underside of the car itself.  Lastly, and most importantly, let’s envision that the car is not your own, but in fact is a historic 1965 Shelby GT350 in mint condition.  If you are able to put yourself in this scene, you may start to grasp the level of pressure put on the team approaching the Fremont Bridge project.

The respected and experienced firm of Purcell Painting & Coatings was awarded the contract to access, enclose and paint the bridge while protecting the local environment and ensuring roadway and boat traffic would not be impacted.  The Fremont Bridge is a double-leaf bascule bridge spanning the Fremont Cut and connecting the Seattle neighborhoods of Fremont and Queen Anne.  It was opened to the public in 1917, and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.  According to WSDOT, due to low clearance, the bridge opens on average 35 times a day to allow for boat traffic.

After much planning and coordination, led by Sr. Engineer Josh Rubero, P.E. and President Jasper Calcara, P.E., D.H. Charles Engineering, Inc. developed and designed a lightweight Safespan suspended platform system which was capable of supporting workers and debris when the bridge was in use, while also remaining stable and secure when the bridge was raised throughout the day.  Raising the platform presented extreme challenges to the design team, as the suspended deck and bridge structure would be exposed to complex loading conditions not normally experienced by a traditional horizontal platform.  Intense wind loading on the underside of the platform, stabilization during raising, and very sensitive counterweight restrictions were only a few of the issues addressed throughout the design process.

With intimate involvement of WSDOT, the project was ultimately completed safely, on schedule, and to everyone’s extreme satisfaction.  Due to the historic significance of the Bridge, the vibrant, colorful and heavily populated neighborhoods it services (Fremont bills itself as the Center of the Known Universe), and the complex and unique challenges presented, DHC is proud to have been part of such a successful project.

-Josh Rubero, P.E.

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