Penobscot Narrows Bridge and Observatory

The Penobscot Narrows Bridge is a 2,120-foot-long cable-stayed bridge over the Penobscot River, connecting Verona Island to Prospect, Maine. It is one of only three bridges in the U.S. (along with the Zakim Bridge in Boston and Veterans’ Glass City Skyway in Toledo) constructed using a cradle system that carries the epoxy-coated steel strands from one bridge deck to the next as a continuous element, eliminating anchorages in the pylons. The system was also designed with pressurized nitrogen gas to defend against corrosion. Since each strand acts independently, the system allows for their individual removal, inspection and replacement. And in 2007, six of the reference strands were replaced with carbon fiber – a first in the U.S., and one of the 100 best engineering innovations for the year, according to Popular Science magazine.

The bridge was designed to replace the Waldo–Hancock Bridge, the first long-span suspension bridge in Maine, erected in 1931. The elevator system in the bridge tower, claims to be the fastest and tallest one in Maine.

The Penobscot Bridge is also home to the Penobscot Narrows Observatory, the first bridge observation tower in the U.S. and the tallest public bridge observatory in the world, reaching 420 feet into the air.

  • Visited: Oct 2010

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