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Orange You Glad You Paint Philippine Bridges?

Thursday, November 1, 2012

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It wasn't a trick-or-treat stunt: The Philippines government announced Wednesday (Oct. 31) that it would henceforth paint all federally owned steel bridges "International Orange."

The country's Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) said that all bridges the agency builds along national roads "will utilize one (1) identity color."

Distinction, Safety

Department Order No. 74, issued by DPWH Secretary Rogelio L. Singson, specifies the "safety orange" color nationwide, to give federally constructed bridges a distinctive look.

Buntun Bridge - Philippines
Mikhailderivera / Wikimedia Commons

The Buntun Bridge, over the Cagayan River, is one of scores of federally owned bridges in the 7,100-island nation.

"The adoption of a uniform color will enable the general public to distinguish bridges directly implemented by the Department, inasmuch as some local government units are also constructing bridges in their locality," Singson said in a statement.

"The use of this color will increase bridge visibility and will protect the bridge from the danger of rust from moisture."

International orange, commonly referred to as safety orange, is also used in engineering, particularly in warning signs for road construction sites, the government said.

Formulation, Application

The order prescribes the painting of steel bridges with "medium-tone international orange" by using the CMYK (Cyan-Magenta-Yellow-blacK) color model 0, 72, 77, and 24, respectively. Coatings must "be prepared using computerized process by the paint manufacturer or accredited outlet of the paint manufacturer," the order says.

Philippines DPWH Symbol

The Philippine agency says the new painting order for steel bridges will distinguish federal construction projects and make them safer.

Painting workmanship on metal surfaces should be in accordance with the DPWH Standard Specifications for Public Works Structures, "in consonance with the policy direction of the Department to improve the quality of infrastructure projects," Singson said.

The effect of the order is not yet clear. The Philippines is an archipelago with more than 7,100 islands and, as of May 2012, listed 80 national bridges. Moreover, the government has recently undertaken an aggressive road construction program.

Corruption Cited

On the other hand, the DPWH has been widely perceived as a corrupt agency, so implementation may not be smooth. Just last year, the agency was forced to apologize over a faked photo on its Facebook page that Photoshopped three officials into the scene of a typhoon cleanup.

Fake DPWH photo

The federal agency, with a reputation for corruption, issued a public apology after admitting that it had published a bogus photo on its Facebook page that Photoshopped some of its officials into the scene of a disaster cleanup.

After an undersecretary was fired for corruption, the agency agreed to engage itself in a series of "Integrity Assessments." It was also one of the first agencies to implement the electronic National Government Accounting System.


Tagged categories: Bridges; Color selection; Corrosion protection; Government contracts; Health and safety; Specification

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