CAMPBELL, Ohio (WKBN) – Campbell has long been known as a city of industrial painters, all of them Greek. Even today, at least 12 painting companies operate out of the area.
One of those companies produced a documentary on bridge painting, what it takes to hang above the water and keep our bridges safe. The film is called “Bridge Brothers.”
Corcon, Inc. sits back off McCartney Road in Coitsville Township, right across the border from the city of Campbell and its heritage of Greek industrial painters. CEO Lou Lyras is a first generation Greek American. He was born, raised, and still lives in Campbell. His company has become one of the nation’s leading painters of bridges, which led him to produce a documentary called “Bridge Brothers.”
“They see the curtains up, but they don’t know. You have no idea what is inside or what it takes. That is why I wanted to do the documentary,” Lyras said. “That is far and above the hardest painting that our painters anywhere in the union do is industrial painting and bridges.”
“Bridge Brothers” runs an hour and 40 minutes and was shot during the painting of two Philadelphia bridges – the Walt Whitman and Commodore Barry. It details the laborious set up of decking, tarping, and recycling equipment that creates an enclosed area where the deleading, sand blasting and painting takes place. Lyras said the setup alone for the tower on the Walt Whitman Bridge took months.
“Three to four months to set it up and do the painting and cleaning in less than a month. Then, it will take another month and a half to take it down,” Lyras said.
“Bridge Brothers” delves into the lives of the men and women who paint the bridges. The work is dangerous and takes a special kind of person to do it.
“If you’re not cutting yourself or bruising yourself every day then you are not doing something right,” Lyras said. “Mostly we like to say everyone who works on a bridge has to be a little bit crazy.”
The following is an excerpt from the film’s synopsis:
As they preserve America’s bridges they also battle Mother Nature – and each other – racing against the clock to get work done under the exacting eye of their foreman and company bosses. They are also forced to confront the personal toll of this work on their family life back home – whether home is New Jersey or Florida; Brazil or Greece. They may not be related by blood but they are brothers nonetheless. Bridge Brothers.