Falling ice wreaked havoc on crossing vehicles Sunday

UPDATED: Penobscot Narrows Bridge to remain closed overnight Monday

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Monday, December 30, 2013 - 7:15pm
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The Penobscot Narrows Bridge is located on Route 1, connects Prospect to Verona Island and is the tallest bridge observatory in the world. (Courtesy Maine Department of Transportation)

Story Location:
Penobscot Narrows Bridge
Prospect  Maine
United States

PROSPECT — Shortly before 10 a.m. Sunday, the Hancock County Sheriff’s Office requested assistance from Prospect Fire Department to assist in closing the Penobscot Narrows Bridge to traffic due to ice falling off the cables and crashing onto cars and the bridge surface below.

Late Monday afternoon, the state Department of Transportation announced that the bridge would remain closed a second day.

“The Penobscot Narrows Bridge remains closed at this time due to the risk of additional falling ice from the bridge piers and cables,” said DOT officials in a Monday afternoon press release.

The DOT also announced that a crane was on site late Monday, and would be attempting to “gently” knock off ice that has formed on the cables. That work was expected to continue into Monday night.

Crews with the DOT Sunday morning eventually relieved the fire department of the duty of traffic control, and the bridge has remained closed since then.

“Crews will reassess the situation at first light,” said officials in a press release Sunday. “Earlier today as temperatures started to rise, ice fell from the cables and piers resulting in damage of five to six vehicles. Out of an abundance of caution, MaineDOT closed the bridge to all traffic until further notice.”

Alternate routes: From the Bucksport side, take Route 15 to Brewer; from the Prospect side, take Route 1A to Bangor.

For information about traffic and the status of the bridge closure, call 511 or visit the DOT’s Travel Information 511 website.

From the state Department of Transportation’s Penobscot Narrows Bridge website:

Fun facts about the Penobscot Bridge Observatory:

• The Penobscot Narrows Bridge is the only bridge observatory in the United States, and only one of four bridge observatories in the world.

• The Penobscot Narrows Bridge opened Dec. 30, 2006, and the observatory opened May 19, 2007.

• The bridge spans 2,120 feet from the east shore to the west shore, and there is 135 feet between the water and the bridge's travel surface.

• The bridge cost $85 million to design and build. This bridge was planned, funded, designed, permitted and built in 42 months.

• The top of the Penobscot Narrows Bridge is 447-feet-tall. The observatory is 420 feet above the river and offers 360-degree views of the surrounding area.

• The design of the Penobscot Narrows Bridge incorporates a granite theme to honor the significance that granite has in the local economy.

• The Washington Monument was partially built with granite from nearby Mt. Waldo, leading to the design of the two towers in the shape of the Washington Monument.

The observatory floor is tiled in granite that was cut from a quarry in Deer Isle.