State Highway Administration Paints Over Beltway Graffiti

The “bridges not walls” message was removed over the weekend


Published:

Contract painters quickly covered the graffiti on the CSX bridge Saturday.

Joe Zimmermann

The latest graffiti message to appear on a CSX train bridge over the Beltway in Silver Spring is no more.

After only a few days on display to passing commuters, the message of “bridges not walls” has been painted over by State Highway Administration contractors.

Workers covered up the graffiti Saturday morning, SHA spokesman Charlie Gischlar said Tuesday.

“At our expense we covered up the vandalism that occurred there,” he said. “It’s not to be tolerated there anymore.”

After receiving notification about the vandalism Feb. 9, SHA officials wanted to act fast to remove the graffiti from the bridge, which CSX rents, but the state maintains. Gischlar said the vandalism was a safety issue, as it presented a distraction to drivers and because the vandals could be putting themselves in danger to paint on the bridge or might drop something onto the highway.

The bridge, near the Washington, D.C., Temple for the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints in Kensington, has served previously as the canvas for other notable instances of graffiti, including “Wizard of Oz” references and dedications to local punk heroes Fugazi.

The graffiti message read "bridges not walls" before it was painted over. (Photo by Joe Zimmermann)

The highway administration hired paint contractors, who used lifts to raise painters up to the bridge so they could spray over the lettering with light blue paint. Workers closed one lane of traffic while completing the job, which took less than ten minutes and cost about $70, Gischlar said.

The work Saturday was meant to be a “quick and fast” job to simply cover the message and prevent distraction, so workers will likely return to more completely cover the paint on the bridge, he said.

The graffiti message of “bridges not walls” is something of a mantra for protesters who oppose President Donald Trump’s proposed Mexican border wall and crackdown on immigration from several Muslim-majority countries. It also echoed statements made by the U.N. in January and Pope Francis last week.

Gischlar said the decision to cover the vandalism was purely about safety and not politically motivated.

“There are other ways to express your views and vandalism is not one of them,” Gischlar said. “We had to cover it up when it said ‘Surrender Dorothy,’ too.”

Back to Bethesda Beat

Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Archive »Related Articles

Police Blotter: Burglars Swipe TV from Apartment, Hit Another Car While Driving Away; Girl with Knife at Wootton High School Arrested

Crimes reported to Montgomery County and Rockville police from Sept. 27 to Oct. 3

School Notes: County Executive, MCPS Leaders Kick-Off Suicide and Drug Abuse Prevention Campaign

Plus: Montgomery College seeks candidates for trustees board; council candidate to hold schools forum

Planning Board Approves Adding Apartments, Five Stories to Guardian Building in Silver Spring

Officials say project is a way to reinvent struggling office complex

Small Bites: Pines of Rome Opens in New Location, Reports Uptick in Customers

Plus: Urban Butcher unveils “meat mountain” for two; Bibibop named “hottest new concept;” brunch at Addie’s
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit Module
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Sponsored Content

Wireless Telecommunication Community Meeting

Join Montgomery County on Monday, October 23, in Rockville to discuss proposed zoning changes to address deployment of microtowers and small cell antennas.

Interested in Learning More About the Democratic Candidates for County Executive?

Join The Greater Bethesda Chamber of Commerce and Bethesda Beat as we host a debate featuring the Democratic Candidates for County Executive on November 15. Click to get your free tickets.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

More »

New Construction

Potomac, $1,999,999

Remodeled Colonial

Potomac, $1,075,000

Classic Chevy Chase Colonial

Chevy Chase, $1,319,000

Stunning Updated Tudor

Bethesda, $1,529,000

Transformed Colonial

North Bethesda, $1,295,000
Edit Module

Profiles

Your Guides to Leading
Local Professionals

Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit Module

Edit Module