In the story “Three Billy Goats Gruff,” a trio of goats must cross a bridge to get to a grassy meadow. Living under that bridge, however, is a troll who threatens to gobble them up as they pass. They manage to sneak by because the third goat is strong enough to knock the troll off the bridge.
This modern version of the story has a different twist: two goats wander off their farm and decide to cross the Mahoning River along the support beams of the Interstate-376 bridge in Lawrence County, Pennsylvania. There was no troll, and there wasn’t much chance of there being more grass on the other side. There was, however, the potential of a 109-foot fall should one of the goats step the wrong way.
The two goats had escaped from a nearby farm. They somehow avoided detection until about 10 a.m. local time on April 2. Pennsylvania state troopers observed the duo walking along the support beams of the bridge, Rosanne Placey, spokeswoman for the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, which operates that stretch of I-376, told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Saving the goats involved coordination between the Pennsylvania Turnpike and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT). A snooper crane — used to inspect the sides and undersides of bridges — was commissioned from PennDOT, along with two employees, to secure the goats in the crane’s bucket.
But one of the goats had other plans.
According to Placey, the first goat was more than happy to be picked up and placed in the bucket, but the other wasn’t interested and walked back to terra firm on its own.
“They followed that one along with the crane, to make sure it didn’t fall,” she said.
And fall it didn’t — not surprising for a sure-footed goat. Both goats were returned to their home, safe and sound, according to Placey, with a story to tell and new adventures to plan.