A Beautiful View 420 Feet Above Maine

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The Penobscot Narrows Bridge crosses the Penobscot River (Maine’s longest at 109 miles) in the town of Prospect and replaces the now closed Waldo-Hancock Bridge which literally crosses the river only yards from its newer cousin.

Both bridges represent substantial leaps forward in engineering.

When the Waldo-Hancock bridge opened in 1931, it cost less than $1 million dollars to construct. It was the first permanent bridge across the Penobscot River below Bangor Maine, and represented many other firsts. It was the one of only two bridges to employ pre-stressed twisted wire strand cable, and the first bridge to make use of the beautiful Vierendeel truss which was used later in the Golden Gate Bridge. Prior to its construction, motorists would have to choose between a 27 mile detour through Bangor or a sometimes-hours-long wait for the ferry at this point in the river.

The Penobscot Narrows Bridge is one of the first to use the cradle system that carries the strands within the stays from deck to deck. The cable stays were also designed to use nitrogen gas to defend against corrosion, reducing the cost of maintenance and lengthening the life of the bridge. The bridge’s technology won it one of the 100 best innovations by Popular Science Magazine in 2006.

But, let’s cut to the chase. It’s beautiful and is the only bridge in the United States and tallest in the world to have an observation tower at its peak. At 420 feet tall, the view is tremendous and you can see nearly 100 miles in every direction on a clear day.

Hello New Hampshire!