As I write this, I’m sitting on the drawbridge where I work, gazing out the window at the much, much, MUCH higher fixed bridge next door. I have to say my heart is in my throat, because what is happening is there’s a bucket truck on that bridge, and the bucket is being extended out over the water, and down, down, down below the bridge structure. Apparently they’re inspecting the underside of the bridge or doing some welding or repairs or something. But that thing looks like a spindly little Tonka toy from here.
There are two people in the bucket, and they’re 182 feet above the canal. They’ve been at it for hours in the rain. The bucket goes under and they stay there for a looooong time. Then it swings back out, rises up, slides between the girders, and the truck moves further along the bridge. Then the process is repeated.
I’m sure whatever they’re doing is quite necessary, and I hope that they’re being paid quite well, but my gut reaction is that you couldn’t pay me enough to risk my life like that. It’s just not something I’d want to be doing on a Saturday morning, or any other time of the week for that matter.
When I opened drawbridges in Jacksonville, Florida, we often talked about a mishap with one of those trucks. The bucket arm gave away, and four people were left clinging to a sideways bucket, 200 feet above the St. Johns River. You can see footage of this scary event, complete with interviews with the people involved here. They all survived, fortunately, but what a scary experience.
It is a constant shock to me, what some people are willing to do to make a living.