NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) -- The Q Bridge has been serving the New Haven area for 55 years. And a lot of people put their sweat and muscle into building it.
The Pearl Harbor Memorial Bridge has carried millions of cars in the last 55 and a half years. That's thanks to the work of folks like Robert Meagher, a carpenter who built the forms.
"Putting up the piers and then going up on the deck gang on the actual bridge," said Meagher.
PHOTOS: Building the First "Q" Bridge
Jim McConnell was all of 19 when he started.
"I was the water boy, getting the bolts and stuff like that," said McConnell, a retired iron worker. "After a couple of months, I started hooking on the iron."
Together, they changed Connecticut. A multi-lane bridge over the Quinnipiac River meant everyone could get around the area faster than ever before. And every time he drove across it, McConnell felt a sense of pride
"Yeah, every time I go, I say 'I remember this, remember that.' She knows. She says I've heard it before," said McConnell.
And now that it's coming down, what are his emotions?
"It's hard to believe," McConnell said. "I still can't believe they're taking it down."
The old bridge is coming down to make way for a new, much larger span. At an event thanking workers, McConnell was presented with some pictures, and a rivet from the original bridge, which he built with very little safety equipment.
"In our days, you never tied off on the iron. Never," McConnell said. "No safety harness, no hard hats, but then they started with the hard hats."
The guys wearing the hard hats today say the old bridge was built well, but not built to withstand today's cars and trucks.
"Too bad it got beat to death. Too much traffic," said Meagher.
That was something they didn't foresee in 1958, when they thought the bridge would be here.
"Forever," McConnell said. "If you ever told anybody then that they'd be taking it down in 50 years, they'd think you were, you gotta be wrong."
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