The Building Tradesman Newspaper

Friday, February 21, 2020

News Briefs

By The Building Tradesman

Another award for Mighty Mac painting

The Mackinac Bridge tower painting project, now entering its fourth and final year, has won a second national award.

Representatives of Seaway Painting of Livonia, the contractor performing the work on the bridge, accepted the E. Crone Knoy Award earlier this month from the Society for Protective Coatings, an industry group focused on protecting and preserving concrete, steel, and other industrial and marine structures.

The E. Crone Knoy Award "recognizes an outstanding achievement in industrial or commercial coatings work that demonstrates innovation, excellence in craftsmanship, or the use of state-of-the-art techniques or products to creatively solve problems or provide long-term service."

"Anyone who is familiar with the scale and size of the Mackinac Bridge can understand the planning and effort required to clean and repaint the towers," said Mackinac Bridge Authority Executive Secretary Kim Nowack. "The awards our contractors have won are a testament to the excellent work that is being done to preserve the bridge."

Last summer at the Structural Engineers Association of Illinois 2019 Excellence in Structural Engineering Annual Awards, Ruby+Associates took home the Best Neighboring State Project Award for the bridge painting platforms used in the painting project. The movable scaffold system was designed by Ruby+Associates of Bingham Farms, fabricated by Moran Iron Works of Onaway, and used by Seaway Painting and their Painters District Council 1M union work crew.

The south tower contract is for just less than $6.5 million, with Seaway required to complete the project by Dec. 31. The contract to repaint the north tower was just less than $6.3 million. Installation and removal of the platforms has required brief closures during the overnight and early morning hours on several occasions.

The original paint is lead-based and Seaway is required to contain 100 percent of the paint as it is removed and ship it to an appropriate landfill facility. The new paint, which is zinc-based, is expected to last at least 35 years, with periodic maintenance.

Solid start for jobs; wages still concern

The U.S. added 225,000 jobs in January, a solid number that was well above the average per month of 176,000 in 2019, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported this month. The unemployment rate ticked up slightly to 3.6 percent. 

The construction industry (+44,000 jobs) was the only higher-paying sector that added large numbers of jobs in January. Factories shed 12,000 jobs, 10,600 of them in cars and parts.

Wages rose by 3.1% over last January, prompting the labor-backed Economic Policy Institute to point out that workers barely kept up with inflation. “The tightening labor market isn’t translating into wage growth,” said senior analyst Elise Gould at the Economic Policy Institute.