Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Exploring the Villages of Maine

Travel Day 6 -- Timberland Acres RV Park, Trenton, ME (44.507341,-68.388820)

Today the weather was beautiful all day so Michelle, Carole and Nelson Hommel, and I went out to explore the small villages of Maine near Bar Harbor and wound up in Bucksport, ME, a town in Hancock County, ME with a population of about 5,000. Bucksport is an historic town across the Penobscot River estuary from Fort Knox and the Penobscot Narrows Bridge. If this really excites you, learn more at wikipedia.

Towering over this little town is The Penobscot Narrows Bridge, a 2,120 feet long cable-stayed bridge over the Penobscot River connecting Verona Island, ME to Prospect, ME. It replaced the Waldo–Hancock Bridge, built in 1931 which you can see in the background of this early photo.

The Penobscot Narrows Bridge is one of three bridges in the US (the others being Zakim Bridge in Boston, Massachusetts, and Veterans' Glass City Skyway in Toledo, Ohio) constructed recently to utilize a cradle system that carries the strands within the stays from bridge deck to bridge deck, as a continuous element, eliminating anchorages in the pylons. Each epoxy-coated steel strand is carried inside the cradle in a one-inch steel tube. Each strand acts independently, allowing for removal, inspection and replacement of individual strands. The cable-stay system was designed with a system that uses pressurized nitrogen gas to defend against corrosion. In June 2007, six reference strands within three stays were replaced with carbon fiber strands – a first in the US. Monitoring on the strands will evaluate this material for future use in bridge designs. These engineering innovations helped the bridge appear in the December 2006 edition of Popular Science as one of the 100 best innovations of the year. The total project cost was $85 million.

The bridge was designed as an emergency replacement for the Waldo–Hancock Bridge. From conception to completion, just 42 months elapsed. A unique project delivery method, referred to as "owner facilitated design/build" partnered Maine DOT with FIGG as the designer and Cianbro/Reed & Reed LLC as the contractor. The elevator system in the tower, which is claimed to be the fastest and tallest elevator in Maine, was installed by Stanley Elevator Company, Inc.

All the Oooing and Ahhhing about this wonderful engineering accomplishment (Nelson and I were impressed, Michelle and Carole not so much) made us hungry. So for lunch we found a local establishment with a nice view and easy parking. As it turned out The Harbor View Grille had a good menu and served us four delicious lunches.

Michelle had a Fishburger and I had a Tunamelt and Seafood Chowder combination. We both finished off with Blueberry Pie with Vanilla Ice Cream after listening to the waitress talk about the woman who comes to the restaurant a couple days a week just to bake pies. It seems I have heard about the baking lady somewhere else. Since she only drives her car to church on Sunday, she must walk to the restaurant to bake pies. Hmmmmm.

Is this a preview of meals to come? I think we'll skip dinner tonight.

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