Man remembers bridge - - The News for South Mississippi

Man remembers quirks, perks of working on drawbridge


They're a dying breed; the drawbridge worker.

As the new Skidaway Island bridge opens, the old drawbridge is coming down piece by piece.

So what happens to the people who work those mechanical bridges? 

Don't worry, everyone who worked on the drawbridge works for Chatham County Public Works and will be transferred to the last remaining drawbridge in the county, the Sam Varnadoe Bridge, or another department, but one man has a special relationship with the old Skidaway drawbridge. 

Pablo Vasquez has worked on, in, and around the bridge for over 28 years.  He came from Belize and worked in the booth on the bridge for almost five years, then worked his way up to bridge supervisor, but he says it wasn't easy. 

"After six months, I almost gave up, but my supervisor told me to hang in there; stick with it," he said.

He says working nights was rough, but he loved the job and all the mechanical aspects of it.

"When I came here, it was a new adventure. It [may] not look like an adventure to somebody, but it's an adventure to me," he said.

With that adventure came the ups and downs.

"We got it all, we got it all. [People] throw eggs at us, knock our windows out, shoot at us," Vasquez said.

But the upside were the people who passed under the bridge. 

"They commend us on our bridges, that we're the best and we open real quick and they don't have to be waiting."

He even loved what others hated; when the bridge would get stuck.  Vasquez says it happened so frequently in the end, he always kept spare parts for that very occasion. 

He was proud that he taught himself to fix those problems, cutting down the time the bridge would be closed.

Even though he's spent a better part of thirty years on this bridge, he says he'll miss all but one thing.

"I won't miss the complaints, but it comes with the territory."

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