One of my primary school class projects was on bridges. As I was at Limekilns primary school, the bridges in question were those over the River Forth, and the timing of the project coincided perfectly with the centenary of the Forth Rail Bridge. As a 10 year old (I think!), I was fascinated with images like this one, demonstrating the elegant cantilever structure:
The Rail Bridge was completed in 1890, with three cantilevers (each 361 feet high), 54,000 tonnes of steel and 6.5 million rivets. The centenary was celebrated in 1990 and I can remember lots of fireworks (and what felt like every organisation in Fife using images of the rail bridge with fireworks exploding all around). In 1996 an assessment of the bridge was made and an extensive programme of maintenance began in 1998. Roughly that has meant that the bridge has been rarely free of scaffolding since then. ‘Legend’ has it that the Forth Rail Bridge is continuously painted, starting at one end and finishing at the other, only to begin again from first end. The current ‘paint job’ is more sophisticated, requiring the bridge to be blasted back to bare metal before application.
We were lucky to get the chance to go up, and even more lucky not to have to climb any ladders! We were taken up (after safety briefing and sorting out the PPE) by elevator, and had plenty time at the top to take photos. Fortunately it was a good morning and the safety rail and wooden boards on the platform shielded us from the worst of the wind.