Category: Golden Gate Bridge

The place to get information about the Golden Gate Bridge

The Wee Small Hours

It always starts for me with a disconnected thought in the wee small hours of the morning. When I still worked rotating shifts at the Golden Gate Bridge the minutes between 3 AM and 5 AM on Graveyard Shift were a veritable playground for half-remembered and mis-remembered truths, fantasies, and broken intentions. Six straight days of working Day Shift from 7 AM to 3 PM got us a day off and then back to work the following night from 11 PM to 7 AM for another seven straight days of the dreaded Graveyard.

My biggest challenge was the sixth and seventh days of that shift. By then it was hard to get to sleep during the day and difficult to stay awake at night. Concentrating on a task was difficult and the time between assignments was filled with jumbled thinking.

In 2004, on just such a night, an idea was born. April Fools Day was fast approaching and it seemed like just the time for some light-hearted humor in the workplace.

A Heartfelt Farewell

The Golden Gate Bridge Manager, Kary Witt, has announced his retirement and the Bridge District put together a very nice retrospective video of his tenure.

Kary assumed his current position not long after I hired on in 1999. I had the opportunity to work with him on a number of projects in my 15 year career there. No matter if it was late at night or early in the morning I could count on Kary to be professional, accessible and friendly. I think that we got along well together because we both share a certain “skewed” sense of humor.

Looking back, it was interesting for me to be able to watch Kary grow into his job as Bridge Manager. The challenges he faced and the solutions he came up with after 9/11 are a testament to his ability to assess, adapt and move forward. His tireless work on the Moveable Median System, the Suicide Barrier and the automatic Electronic Toll Collection System is indicative of his skills at managing tasks and working with others.

I hope that you enjoy your post-bridge life as much as I am enjoying mine. You are a hard act to follow, my friend.

 

 

Lest We Forget

80 years ago today ten men left their homes and went to work on the Golden Gate Bridge with no idea that it would be their last day on earth. Whatever hopes and dreams they had stayed with them when, later that morning, they plunged 220 feet into San Francisco Bay atop a 5-ton scaffold entwined in a safety net. According to witnesses, the sound of the net tearing was like “the crack of a machine gun” or “the rip of a picket fence splintering.” It was the second fatal accident during the construction of the bridge.

Three months before, on October 21, 1936, Kermit Moore was killed when

Saving Time Daily

B ack in the days when I worked for a living, the concept of Daylight Savings Time posed an unusual challenge twice a year at the Golden Gate Bridge. Think beyond the idea of sleeping in for an extra hour, or getting up 60 minutes earlier than the day before. Think about your clocks.

Did you reset yours last night before you went to bed, or are you doing it during the day today? Alarm clocks, kitchen clocks, wall clocks, mantle clocks, wristwatches; Clocks on thermostats, microwave ovens, stoves, dashboards—OMG, the car(s)—and time clocks for sprinklers.

At the Golden Gate Bridge District offices we had all of the above clocks and more (over 50). Guess who got to reset all of the clocks twice a year? That’s right, the Electric Shop.

Deadly Accident

“As I was falling, a piece of lumber fell on my head. I was almost unconscious. Then the icy water of the channel brought me to.” —Slim Lambert, 26, Stripping Crew foreman

79 years ago today ten men left their homes and went to work on the Golden Gate Bridge with no idea that it would be their last day on earth. Whatever hopes and dreams they had stayed with them when, later that morning, they plunged 220 feet into San Francisco Bay atop a 5-ton scaffold entwined in a safety net. According to witnesses, the sound of the net tearing was like “the crack of a machine gun” or “the rip of a picket fence splintering.” It was the second fatal accident during the construction of the bridge.

Three months before, on October 21, 1936, Kermit Moore was killed when he was crushed by a falling steel beam. For 44 months the bridge construction project was fatality-free—a remarkable feat when the prevailing wisdom of the day was that the average “cost” of a job this size was one life per one million dollars spent.

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