Golden Gate Bridge visitors are orange with envy

Visitors to the Golden Gate Bridge often pose a strange request: They want some of the bridge's International Orange paint.

During construction, consulting architect Irving Morrow chose the color. He thought it would reflect nicely off the waters of the Golden Gate Strait below and blend well with the Marin headlands to the north.

"I get asked all the time, 'Can I have a little bit of that paint? I want to paint the fence in front of my house,'" said Mary Currie, public affairs director for the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District, which operates the bridge.

At the risk of infuriating the visitors' neighbors, Currie tells them that the formula's available on the district's website ( and look for "color formula"). Sherwin-Williams paint stores sells Fireweed, a close approximation. That company supplies the International Orange paint used by the district's army of 28 painters, five painter laborers, and a chief bridge painter who continually battle the elements doing touch-up work.


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