A Newport Bridge view you'll see Only on 10
NEWPORT, R.I. —
The Newport Pell Bridge is a Rhode Island icon.
It graces postcards and the back of a Rhode Island state quarter. It looks majestic, even tranquil, until you get up close.
Cars and trucks cross it about 200 feet above Narragansett Bay.
Denise Anthony knows the bridge better than most. She's the only female maintenance worker with the Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority.
Part of her job is bridge upkeep.
"Sweeping the bridge, power washing the bridge, getting debris off the bridge, tending to an accident," Denise said.
Maintenance workers attend to the bridge often, but this is the first time they're taking television cameras to top.
We enter from the deck of the bridge, maneuvering through the first portion and then into a tiny elevator. We have to slip through steel beams not designed for today's typical American.
While I struggle, Denise glides through with ease. She knows the bridge inside and out.
The next step is a climbing a series of ladders.
We don't hear cars zooming by, just the clanking of our safety clips and a hollow echo, which made it sound like we were underground, not hundreds of feet above water.
Then darkness turns to light as we climb through a hatch at the top of the bridge.
The view is spectacular. Denise says she never gets sick of it.
"It was breathtaking. The first time was awesome, and it keeps getting better," Denise said.
At more than 400 feet tall, on a clear day, the Newport Bridge is visible from Martha's Vineyard and Providence.
Even on a hazy day, you can clearly make out notable landmarks like the cooling towers at Brayton Point and Fort Adams.
The bridge cables have more than 7,900 miles of wire in them. Part of Denise's job is to inspect the cable, looking for damage and rust.
She's become in tune with the bridge.
As planes fly high above and boats pass far below, the Newport Pell Bridge continues to stand strong.
Denise makes sure of that.