Follow us on Twitter Follow us on LinkedIn Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram Visit the TPC Store
Search the site



Clemco Industries Corp.

Coatings Industry News

Main News Page

Modern Service Bridges Ancient Fears

Friday, September 13, 2013

More items for Health & Safety

Comment | More

Friday the 13th sparks all kinds of fearsand, not surprisingly, people ready to profit from them.

Take the Chesapeake Bay Bridge: the five-mile behemoth that soars 186 feet over the depths of the Chesapeake Bay.

While crews of painters now clock in on (and above) the bridge for hours each day, white-knuckled motorists are paying someone to just get them across the span.

"Nervous about crossing over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge? If so, you're not alone," says Kent Island Express, a company that operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year to transport cars and their owners across the bridge.

Chesapeake Bay Bridge
Maryland Transportation Authority / Facebook

An enterprising service will drive gephyrophobics over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, dubbed America's scariest span.

The service comes at a cost—$25 each way. But for true gephyrophobics (those with a fear of bridges), it's apparently a small price to pay for safe passage over what several publications have dubbed one of the world's scariest bridges—and the scariest in the United States.

Many gephyrophobics reroute their travels around bridges. Kent and other services offer the option for those who can't.

Bridging Your Fears

Indeed, some bridge owners (including the Maryland Transportation Authority, or MTA, which owns the Chesapeake Bay Bridge) have been quite accommodating about their panicky patrons.

In 2008, The New York Times reported on a number of jurisdictions that provided crossing services for gephyrophobics.

At the time, the chauffeurs included:

  • The New York Thruway Authority, which would arrange (with advance notice) for someone to drive a motorist's car over the Tappan Zee Bridge;
  • The MTA, which offered a similar service for the Chesapeake Bay span; and
  • The Mackinac (MI) Bridge Authority, which took about a thousand drivers each year over the Mackinac Bridge.

Satanic Spans...

As if bridges don't carry enough real dangers, tradition has passed down plenty of imaginary ones.

Devil's Bridges
Wikimedia Commons

Devil's Bridges, like this one in Bulgaria, were said to be the work of the devil, who then demanded a fee in the form of the builder's soul.

Take Devil's Bridges, ancient spans scattered around Europe that date back hundreds of years. These structures were considered such wonders that they were thought to have been the work of the Devil.

The story went that the Devil would appear before the builder and offer to complete the bridges in exchange for the soul of the first person to cross it. Fortunately for the builder's soul, he tricked the Devil in the end, sending an animal across the bridge as its first living patron.

...And Superstition Savvy

Fortunately, tradition has not left us emptyhanded in dealing with all manner of bridge dangers. Herewith, some of that advice:

Troll Below
Mary E. Chollet

Bridges in Dublin remind pedestrians who's really in charge of the crossing.

Watch for trains. It is unlucky to be under a railroad bridge when a train is passing over it, or to be on a bridge that spans a railway while a train is passing below. Motorists who must drive under a bridge while a train is passing are advised to touch the roof of the car—a gesture intended to hold the bridge up.

Beware your farewells. If two people part on a bridge, they will never see each other again. (The bridge is seen as a symbol of crossing into another part of one's life.)

Keep cool. Burning bridges should be reserved without exception for its original intent—keeping the enemy's army from reaching your troops once they have escaped across the bridge.

concrete cracks
Boston University

Do you know what happens to your mom if you step on a crack? Just another reason to properly coat your concrete.

Troll for tolls. It has long been believed in some circles that trolls live under bridges. To avoid a confrontation, pedestrians are advised to have a gratuity ready to pay the keeper and get across. (Trolls may also do a good turn. In California, a troll statue lived under the Bay Bridge and is credited with keeping earthquakes at bay.)

Mind your Maintenance. Cracks are not only a danger for bridges. If you step on one, you'll break your mother's back.

So keep your inspectors, and protective coatings, handy.


Tagged categories: Bridges; Concrete

Comment Join the Conversation:

Sign in to our community to add your comments.

Bullard Made in the USA

Tarps manufacturing, Inc.
QUALITY MADE IN AMERICA —Available near you!
CLICK to get a behind-the-scenes look at how Tarps Manufacturing makes the highest-quality tarps right here in the USA — available nationwide.

Industrial Vacuum Equipment Corp.
Hurricane Vacuums
& Dust Collectors
Vacuum and dust collector hose, filters and related accessories.

SABRE Autonomous Solutions
Personnel are free to do other tasks while the ALPHA1 does the “dirty work”.

New resins from BASF will have metals loving water!
Excellent corrosion resistance, low VOC, high gloss, thin films 800-231-7868

SAFE Systems, Inc.
SAFE Systems'
Blast Lights &
Deadman Switches
Halogen or LED blast lights available with our NEW urethane bumper. Switches available in many colors for color coding your hoses.

HoldTight Solutions Inc.
Our HoldTight®102 salt remover & flash rust
preventer prevents flash
rust by removing surface contaminants. Contact us
for your nearest distributor.
(800) 319.8802

Fischer Technology Inc.
TSA Coatings on Stainless Steel
Fischer’s Phascope PMP10 and ESD20TSA probe are incredibly accurate and easy to use.

Modern Safety Techniques
Modern Safety Techniques
With our unique LTCat, we can help to provide clean, safe breathing air to your workers. Take a look at our Breathing Air Systems, we supply at least twice as much charcoal as our competitors! Modern

Graco Inc.
Graco EcoQuip 2: Experience the Difference
While others claim their equipment is the same, none of them compare to Graco’s EcoQuip 2™ Vapor Abrasive® blasting line. Visit to learn more.


Technology Publishing Co., 1501 Reedsdale Street, Suite 2008, Pittsburgh, PA 15233

TEL 1-412-431-8300  • FAX  1-412-431-5428  •  EMAIL

The Technology Publishing Network

Durability + Design PaintSquare the Journal of Protective Coatings & Linings Paint BidTracker

EXPLORE:      JPCL   |   PaintSquare News   |   Interact   |   Buying Guides   |   Webinars   |   Resources   |   Classifieds
REGISTER AND SUBSCRIBE:      Free PaintSquare Registration   |   Subscribe to JPCL   |   Subscribe to PaintSquare News
MORE:      About   |   Privacy Policy   |   Terms & Conditions   |   Support   |   Site Map   |   Search   |   Contact Us