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Getting back into the Swing

Yvette Best

Getting back into the Swing

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The alarm and flashing of the beacons associated with the raising of the Chamberlain Bridge in Bridgetown should soon be a regular occurrence.
Responding to comments from people who have either witnessed the spectacle or wished to do so, manager of market development and public relations at the Port, Freida Nicholls, told the WEEKEND NATION that Bajans and visitors alike would get more frequent opportunities to see it.
Nicholls said the Port was currently working on a schedule for when the bridge, previously known as the “Swing Bridge”, would be lifted, and it would be publicized.
For the second time this week, pedestrian traffic came to a standstill yesterday morning when the bridge was raised to allow two craft to pass through to the other side of the Careenage.
A second raising was planned for the evening.
Even though it is a fairly routine procedure at this stage and a lot of the novelty has worn off, it was an exciting moment for one operator who was on his own for the very first time on Monday.
He said he had heard about the Swing Bridge as a child growing up and was on the job when the bridge was decommissioned a few years ago.
The operator said it was an “interesting” experience to be at the controls and to watch the reaction of people. He said many of the onlookers appeared to be intrigued by the exercise.
He explained that it took about two to three minutes for the bridge to be brought to a full upright position.
Vendor John Prince has a bird’s-eye view of the bridge from the kiosks a short distance away from the Independence Arch. He has seen it being raised as a youngster and while on the job selling his wares.
While Prince said the lifting did not “shake” him as it did other people, he said it brought a “glory” to people who came to witness it. He said it would be good to raise it as an attraction.
“That will be a nice thing that people could come and see . . . . It will bring back memories, especially for the older people who accustom seeing it raised . . . . Memories is our history, so it’s something good that we should be able to make an open day to let people come and see it raised,” Prince said.
Former cyclist Louis King said he stopped to take in the event as he had never seen it locally before, though he had witnessed the lifting of bridges overseas.
It was also a “fascinating” experience for Cheryl Small, who saw it for the first time last week. The bridge is expected to be raised again sometime tomorrow.

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