ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) — A report issued by an engineering firm out of Chicago has quieted concerns over the stability of the Gateway Arch.
Corrosion sighted in recent years on the exterior of the Arch had worried some, but the report said it’s not structural in origin and that the Arch is as sound today as the day it was built.
After an extensive study of the interior and exterior of the Arch, as well as other stainless steel structures built before or at the same time as the Arch, the engineers concluded that the Arch is in excellent structural shape. The staining on the exterior is a cosmetic problem for which the engineers proposed several solutions.
Research revealed that other stainless steel structures have not suffered the same exterior staining as the Arch, leading the engineers to believe that the welds that hold the Arch’s sections together may be the culprit.
“The Gateway Arch stands alone from other buildings and monuments researched in its extensive use of shop and field welds,” the engineers stated. “Many of the discolorations of concern are caused by atmospheric pollutants or inadequate cleaning and polishing of the Arch after erection.”
In addition to the natural corrosion, another problem is posed by the unfortunate and growing habit of visitors who carve their names into the exterior base of the Arch legs. The carved graffiti (which is a Federal offense) shows streaking similar to the welds higher up, and will also be treated to try to eliminate it and to repair the damage. The cleaning of this graffiti might be followed up with a clear coating of some type to prevent future damage.