For Don Dulac, the Painting Never Stops—He's One of the Crew Who Keeps the Golden Gate Orange
Despite the conditions Dulac isn't complaining. "We're 80 percent of the way through sandblasting and spray-painting the entire bridge," he says. "We used to use a pneumatic chipping gun. After that it was all brushwork. It took a lot more time, and the job wasn't as efficient because chipping didn't get all the rust off like sandblasting does. This job we're doing now will hold up a lot longer."
Dulac isn't worried about painting himself out of a job, since the top coat must still be replaced constantly. Fear of heights isn't a problem among the 8,981-foot bridge's 32 painters either, he says. "If you're afraid, you wouldn't be here in the first place." Still, a little fear would be justified. In 1967 Dulac saw one of his buddies accidentally plunge 180 feet to his death. And he has watched helplessly as several suicides have tossed themselves into the bay. More often, though, all that falls are stray drops of paint, sometimes splattering traffic below. When that happens, a crew removes the paint free of charge. "People come in swearing we dropped paint on them in all different colors," Dulac says. "But it's just not possible. We never use green paint up here."