Meet the VIP of the Coronado Bridge
What it's like to work in the center divide of our iconic bridge
Roger Stonebreaker | Photo by Robert Benson
Job: Maintenance, Coronado Bay Bridge
Ten times a week, Roger Stonebreaker and his crew “take the wall.” In this context, (Game of Thrones reference aside) that entails boarding a machine called “the Zipper” and physically moving the Coronado Bridge’s center divide one lane over to ease the flow of commuter traffic. “I love my job,” says Stonebreaker, aka “Stoney,” an apropos nickname given that his primary task involves the shifting of 1,400-pound cement blocks.
Stonebreaker, who has worked for Caltrans for 17.5 years, is part of a five-person team that maintains the bridge, which also includes duties like painting, emergency tow service, and preserving the catwalk or underside. “I’m the sew person. We do 30-foot curtains for 100 percent containment [when repairs are needed],” he says. “I have two sewing machines, an industrial and a baby one.”
The crew also keeps the bridge clear of debris, which, according to Stoney, is “the only time it really gets to be iffy,” because “you have to get out and clear it and you’re in a live lane.” But the payoff is that breathtaking view. When asked if it ever gets old, he says, “Oh no noooooo! It’s killer. This is my spot, man.”
A one-way trip across the bridge in the Zipper takes about 2.5 hours.