California’s Largest Steel Arch Bridge Gets Refreshed with LUMIFLON® FEVE Fluoropolymer Coating

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The Cold Spring Canyon Arch Bridge, the largest steel arch bridge in California, has recently undergone a significant repainting project. This initiative involved the application of a LUMIFLON® fluoropolymer coating as a topcoat to all steel structures across the bridge, covering a massive area of 220,000 square feet. It was a long-term project, taking three years to complete. Remarkably, this was the first time such an update was carried out since the bridge’s original construction in 1964.

Preserving a Crucial Transport Link

Located in the Santa Ynez Mountains in California, the Cold Spring Canyon Arch Bridge serves as a crucial transport link. Its two-lane roadway facilitates vehicular traffic, including cars and trucks, traveling between Santa Barbara and Santa Ynez on State Route 1254. The bridge, one of the tallest in the United States, peaks at 400 feet above a canyon.

Aside from its functional purpose, it provides a breathtaking panoramic view of the surrounding mountains. In recognition of its engineering significance, it was designated a Historic Civil Engineering Landmark in 1976.

Recoating All Steel Structures

Recoating the bridge was part of a broader maintenance project spearheaded by the California Department of Transportation, with a goal to rehabilitate the iconic Cold Spring Canyon Arch Bridge. The scope of the job included coating all steel elements of the bridge: the arch’s steel, the steel columns connecting the arch and road deck, and the steel supporting the concrete road deck. Certified Coatings was the contractor that completed the project.

Originally, the steel was coated with a lead-based primer and two layers of alkyd. The new fluoropolymer coating system involved a complete prime coat, several stripe coats, and two comprehensive finish coats. The prime coats were applied at a thickness of 2-3 mils per coat, while the finish coat ranged from 1.5 to 3 mils. All of the coatings were water based and met all VOC requirements for the region in California.  The topcoats consisted of a blend of an FEVE water based coating and a standard water based acrylic coating.

LUMIFLON Maintains Bridge Excellence

Sherman Williams supplied the paint that was formulated with LUMIFLON®, a fluorinated resin for highly durable coatings. Its formulation consists of alternating segments of fluoroethylene and vinyl ether (or FEVE) that give LUMIFON attributes for durability, weatherability, and chemical resistance.

The LUMIFLON FEVE resins used in the fluoropolymer coating for the Cold Spring Canyon Arch Bridge have contributed several sustainable features to the final product, including:

  • Extreme durability, providing resistance to UV radiation, chemicals, and water even after prolonged exposure.
  • A high-gloss finish that showcases a vivid range of colors.
  • UV resistance that prevents color fading, discoloration, and chalkiness for the entire lifespan of the coating.
  • Anti-corrosive qualities that preserve the coating’s structural integrity over time and inhibit corrosive elements from infiltrating the topcoat and damaging the primer. This technology offered by FEVE resin assists in preventing coating degradation, minimizing potential harm to the bridge’s surfaces.
  • An inherent resistance to dirt and grime, maintaining the coating’s visual appeal.
  • An ability to cure under standard atmospheric conditions, making it suitable for field applications.

Outperforming Other Coatings

When it comes to durability, LUMIFLON FEVE resins stand head and shoulders above other commonly used coatings such as urethanes, chlorinated rubber, and alkyds. Weathering tests have proven that coatings created with LUMIFLON last up to five times longer than those made with acrylic urethanes, and over eight times longer than alkyd-based coatings.

Life Cycle Advantages 

The initial expense of FEVE coatings is higher than that of water based acrylic resins. However, the longer life span of the water based FEVE product significantly reduces the need for repeated maintenance and recoating of a structure.

Recognition for an Exceptional Completion

Given the height of the bridge and the extensive area requiring recoating, this project posed substantial challenges. To manage the task more effectively, the work was divided into zones to segregate and isolate specific areas.

Safety concerns were paramount due to the considerable amount of edge work, increasing the risk of falls. Additionally, the threat of fires was elevated due to drought conditions. To ensure safety, crew members wore fall protection gear including harnesses and retractable safety lanyards. Furthermore, catwalks were installed on both sides of the arch to manage traffic.

The meticulous and safe execution of the project, paired with the superior quality of the coating system, resulted in an outstanding outcome. Recognizing this exceptional work, CoatingPro’s 2023 Contractor Awards Program bestowed upon the project contractor the first-place award in its industrial steel category, and also the annual Work It Safe award.Top of Form

For information on LUMIFLON fluoropolymer resin-based coatings, visit  or call 800-424-7833.


AGC Chemicals