BLOGGING ABOUT THE PENOBSCOT NARROWS BRIDGE
The Penobscot Narrows Bridge and Observatory
The Penobscot Narrows Bridge offers much more than function. It opened to vehicular traffic in early 2007 and to guests of the Observatory Tower in the early summer of 2007.
is now open to the viewing public.
It has extraordinary modern suspension engineering with an elegant looking design. An Observatory that will be open to the public is on the Western side near Fort Knox historical site. It’s 42 stories high. That’s 420 feet! This unique tower is the first of its kind in the US, with only 2 others like it in the world, in Slovakia and Thailand.
From the Observatory on a clear day visitors are able to visually trace the flow of the Penobscot River where it meets the ocean at East Penobscot Bay. The vantagepoint for viewing Fort Knox below will be incredible. To the Southwest will be a sweeping view of Camden Hills, the dreamy islands of West Penobscot Bay. To the Southeast will be the Blue Hill Peninsula with its charming coastal villages of Castine, Blue Hill, Brooksville, Deer Isle and Stonington. Cadillac Mountain on Mount Dessert will loom up in the distant eastern horizon. The summit of Mount Katahdin will show its rocky (or snowy) crest 90 miles to the Northwest. Oakland House is just 30 minutes away. This will be a breathtaking experience.
The Penobscot Narrows Bridge’s Observatory is open from May through October. Entry is through Fort Knox State Historic Site, off Route One, South of Bucksport. An elevator will whisk observers to the Observation Deck and back. Admission: Adults-$5.00, Children less. May-October.
More Information on Fort Knox and the Penobscot Narrows Bridge and Observation Tower.
The History of the Penobscot Narrows Bridge and Observatory.
The Penobscot Narrows Bridge was built to replace the Waldo-Hancock Bridge, which was built between 1930 and 1931. This amazing bridge provided continuous travel along Route 1. Route 1 hugs Maine's eastern coastline and its border north to New Brunswick, Canada. Until the bridge was built travelers had to choose a 66-mile detour through Bangor or wait in long lines to cross the Penobscot River by ferry. Construction on the bridge took just over a year to complete, and when it was finished the 2,040 foot central span was two and a half times the length of any highway bridge in the United States! It was Maine’s first long-span suspension bridge.
After 70 years of hard use in the demanding weather conditions coastal Maine has to offer, in 2002 Maine DOT began its routine scheduled inspection and repair procedure on the old bridge. When inspecting the main suspension cables they discovered severe corrosion hidden from view. Further inspection revealed serious decomposition of the steel. It was determined that the cables were too corroded to save. Engineers quickly devised a stop gap plan. They added more strengthening cables to follow the existing ones and were thus able to move a large portion of the bridge’s weight to the new steel cables. This provided the security required to allow continued bridge use while the new Penobscot Narrows Bridge was being constructed.