Bridge’s 2,700 Lights Keep This Man Busy (Nov, 1940)
Bridge’s 2,700 Lights Keep This Man Busy
COMBINING the jobs of human fly, electrician, and lamplighter, John J. Kiernan watches over the 2,700 electric lamps which light the great George Washington Bridge across the Hudson River. In his work of inspecting equipment and replacing burned-out bulbs, he climbs cables, rides along wires in a bo’sun’s chair, dangles high above the river, at times more than 500 feet in the air. His day begins with an inspection of the aircraft warning lights at the top of the great towers; it ends with an examination of the countless navigation lights dotting the anchorage piers. In between, the steel-nerved Kiernan walks miles uphill and down on the monster metal cables which support the 3,500-foot span. To guard against sudden gusts carrying him from these gigantic tight ropes, he loops a safety belt over outrigger cables, sliding it along as he advances. A veteran “steeple-jack electrician,” Kiernan has been keeping the bridge lights burning since 1931.