Now hiring: Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge needs a new operator


If you want to be Duluth's new lift bridge operator, you have until Monday to apply.

The City of Duluth has one opening to be a full-time lift bridge operator at the iconic spot. It pays $42,444 to $49,680 a year, with benefits.

"It's not very often that a job opening on the bridge comes up. It generates a lot of interest," Aerial Lift Bridge Supervisor Dave Campbell told WDIO.

There are only a handful of bridge operators, and they tend to keep the job for awhile, Campbell says, noting the last person to retire worked as an operator for 17 years.

The job holder will be responsible for ensuring “safe passage of ships, pedestrians, and motorists by operating and maintaining lift bridges, and related equipment," the job posting says. Having a background in mechanical or electrical maintenance is plus.

But it's more than just pushing a button to make the bridge go up, Campbell explains to WDIO. It can be pretty stressful in the summer when there are a lot of people, cars and ships – all at one time, he says.

During the busy seasons (spring and summer), the bridge averages 26 lifts a day, Go Duluth MN says.

Ryan Beamer, who worked on the lift bridge for eight years, described what it was like to be an operator in a post in Lake Superior Magazine, writing: "Let's be honest, it is a cool job. But it can be stressful work."

And it’s often because of the people. Beamer said people trying to hang on to the bridge as it goes up, or racing in their cars to sneak on before it lifts up, are tense, scary moments.

“Just as with Lake Superior, if you do not give the bridge respect, bad things can happen,” he said.

Still, the view, the excitement on kids’ faces as they watch it, and the experience of sitting in the pilothouse during a storm make it an exciting career.

And it could be yours.

Click here to read the full job description, and for information on how to apply.

'Old Lifty' web series

After a successful fundraising campaign, the lift bridge will be featured in a new comedy web series that chronicles the fictional adventures of a lift bridge operator.

The series began filming in December, and the hope is to make at least 10 episodes for the first season.

Check in at the Old Lifty Facebook page for information on when it will premiere.

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