OAKMONT, Pa. (AP) _ A state bridge design supervisor who orders paint from a catalog decided a color called ''tint of lilac'' was perfect for an 82-year-old bridge. But he didn't tell the construction crew.

''We called it shade 2695,'' Rich Miller said. ''If they knew it was going to be tint of lilac, they would have punched me. Now I keep telling the macho guys in the field that we're going to use pink next.''

The shade is a radical departure from the blues, greens or golds that have been used on the Pittsburgh area's numerous bridges. The Hulton Bridge, built in 1909, was drab green before the lilac makeover began.

Miller said he would like to see the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation paint other bridges in pastel colors because lighter shades enable bridge engineers to detect structural cracks and flaws with ease.

''I don't know if we'll be able to get away with this again, but it's going to be a landmark,'' Miller said.

After repairs and the paint job are complete, the bridge is tentatively scheduled to reopen Aug. 31.

Miller said when golf fans come to the 1992 U.S. Women's Open, which will be held at the nearby Oakmont Country Club, ''all they'll have to do is look for the purple bridge.''

The bridge has become a conversation starter in Oakmont.

''I'm going to have to stare at it all year, but I'm glad it's getting fixed,'' said Meredith Ziegler, 50, a teacher whose classroom at Riverview High School faces the bridge.