Running of the Pigs

This story was ripped from the pages of FDOT life. This event actually took place.

Running of the Pigs – By Charles E. Williams


May 2006

A passel of pigs got through a hole in the fence along I-75 just south of Riverview and they were feeding (rooting) on the shoulder next to the travel line. As we all know, pigs can cause a lot of damage to the turf. In addition, they cause a distraction to motorists driving on I-75 and a distracted motorist is a danger to himself and others around him.

The particular section of I-75 is maintained by an Asset Maintenance contract. The contractor was notified to find the hole in the fence and make repairs. After several attempts, the contractor reported they couldn’t find a hole in the fence to repair.  The Tampa Maintenance Engineer at that time tasked the Tampa Contracts Manager to help. Since I was a contract inspector, I volunteered to find the hole in the fence. My manager at the time (Gene Giambra) asked me how I would accomplish this task since several others had failed. I responded, “Well that’s easy. It’s apparent to me the pigs know, so I’ll just ask them.”

On a warm afternoon in May 2006, Gene and I drove I-75 and found a small group of wild pigs on the side of the interstate. We stopped the truck about 20 yards short of their location.

I said, “Gene, here’s my plan; We are going to drive up to the pigs, roll the window down, and ask that big spotted one to show us the hole in the fence.” Gene replied, “I’ve got to see this!”

I looked over at Gene and said, “Buckle up.” I drove up to the pigs, rolled the window down and yelled, “Hey Spot! Where is that hole in the fence y’all get through?”

The pigs looked up at me and took off running. I gunned the FDOT truck and followed. Gene hung out the window trying to record this event with a VCR recorder. We ran those pigs a couple hundred feet along the shoulder of I-75 (one can only imagine what the passing motorists were thinking when they saw us).

You know those fellas were nice enough to lead us to the damaged section of fence.

This note was made: The hole in the fence on I-75 has been located. It is at mile 248.5 N.B. and is clearly marked for repair. Thanks to the Running of the Pigs.

Stay tuned for next the episode of “Field Notes from the Past.”