You might moan and complain about your hellish commute to and from work, but you've got nothing on Daniel Ruefly, whose daily back-and-forth across a nasty bridge nearly killed him—literally.

So hated was the congested old Woodrow Wilson Bridge—near Alexandria, Va.—that Ruefly's entry to an essay contest deciding who would get to detonate a half-mile stretch was only one out of a huge pile of entries. The Accokeek, Md., resident's tale of traffic tribulations triumphed hands down. He endured 28 years of 90-minute evening trips and two-hour treks each morning—that's more than a month of solid driving every year. To cap it off, in 1999, Ruefly suffered an agonizing post-accident wait with a crushed hip while the drawbridge opened to let a boat pass—twice.

Shortly after midnight on August 29, Ruefly and daughter Tiffanie ended the misery by sending the evil span to kingdom come. The new $2.4 billion bridge is 60% complete; when it opens mid-2008, commuters will zoom merrily along 10 lanes of traffic and safety shoulders. For more information, visit