SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) --The Bay Area's most famous landmark is looking a bit rusty. The International Orange paint is flaking off the Golden Gate Bridge and the fix won't happen overnight.
Whether you're from Dubai, Berlin or Toronto, when you visit San Francisco, you come to the Golden Gate Bridge.
"Iconic! That's what you gotta see, right?" said tourist Irene Lindsay. She's here for the first time, but Uwe Richter has been here before. "It was nicer before," he said.
Visitors can't help but notice that parts of the south tower of the bridge are covered in rust and peeling paint, even though the bridge has a full staff of painters.
"As you know, we have that high exposure to elements, especially very salty fog," Golden Gate Bridge Chief Engineer Ewa Bauer Furbush said.
Furbush said the fog is not even handed. "In some places, the structure gets beaten up much more severely than other places," she said.
For instance, the north tower is sheltered by the Marin Headlands, but the south tower has been battered and torn, especially on the rippled steel surfaces that give the bridge its art deco style.
"These are cover plates to create the architectural look," Furbush said. She said the structure underneath those plates is just fine, but the ladders and platforms needed to paint them are no longer safe for workers.
"It's not only deterioration, but they need to be brought up to code," she said.
The problem goes literally much deeper than paint. Once workers finally get up there, they're going to need to do a lot more than just slap on a thick coat of International Orange.
"Keep in mind that the bridge is 80 years old," Furbush said.
And it's taken a beating for so long, she says the fog has eaten right through the steel. The district wants to make new cover plates and install them during the seismic retrofit that's scheduled for the suspension span.
"The new plates will be of exactly the same design as what you can see now," Furbush said.
But it could be five years before we see them.
On Twitter, Karl the Fog was given the chance to respond to the accusations, but he dismissed them as alternative facts.