No need to wait for Skidaway Island draw bridge legacy - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

No need to wait for Skidaway Island draw bridge legacy

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Before it was simply in the way, the Skidaway Island draw bridge was many other things.

It was a bold passage to a new frontier, connecting those who chose to live there to the mainland while separating them from the rest of Savannah.

"You got a sense of detachment,'' said longtime Landings resident Steve Weeks, of Fox and Weeks Funeral Directors. "You would leave Savannah and you were on the island.''

It was a symbol of distinction, built on land donated by the Roeblings, the family that built the Brooklyn Bridge, and dedicated by a sitting U.S. President, Richard Nixon.

"You look back at the impact of The Landings, with the retirees and the volunteering and the purchasing power had on Savannah,'' said Chuck Mitchell, who was director of marketing for Branigar, the company that built The Landings. "That bridge opened a lot of doors.''

But to Skidaway Island residents,  often it was just "that darn bridge.''

"There were a lot of times when it wouldn't open or it wouldn't close,'' said Weeks. "I sat there many times waiting for someone to come out with something to fix the bridge. I remember one time waiting two hours. But I remember turning around and coming back into town and the bridge wasn't fixed for five hours.''

One thing it won't be now that it's been replaced  is missed.

Weeks moved out to Skidaway Island in 1978. By the conservative estimate of twice a day for 35 years, he drove over the draw bridge more than 25,000 times. Like most Landings residents, he'll be happy to never do it again.

"I will remember it fondly, but I will never miss it,'' he says. "The quicker they go and blow up the remaining pilings on either side of the river, the better.''

Mitchell agrees.

"There were too many things wrong with it, the grates breaking, the accidents that happened before and after it,'' said Mitchell, who has lived at The Landings since 1984. "We have a lot of memories for the bridge, probably more bad than good. I don't think anybody out there is going to miss it.''

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