Deer Isle Bridge

Deer Isle, Maine
Deer Isle Bridge, also known as the Deer Isle–Sedgwick Bridge, in Maine is one of the most beautiful suspension bridges in the country and a joy to drive over.
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About This Location

Deer Isle Bridge, also known as the Deer Isle–Sedgwick Bridge, in Maine is one of the most beautiful suspension bridges in the country. It is the only automobile connection from the Maine mainland town of Sedgwick to Little Deer Isle. It has a main span of 1,088 feet and crosses the Eggemoggin Reach. David Bernard Steinman, regarded as one of the greatest suspension bridge engineers in American history, designed Deer Isle Bridge. The Deer Isle Bridge was dedicated on June 19, 1939, when Maine governor Lewis O. Barrows cut the ribbon that stretched across the $900,000 project’s entryway.

There were various obstacles that David B. Steinman, his firm, and their contractors had to overcome. Because of the prominence of the Eggemoggin Reach as a yachting destination, a 200-foot-wide waterway at midspan was required. It needed to have a minimum under clearance of 85 feet. The roadway had to be 98.7 feet above the mean water level to meet this requirement. At the same time, the depth of foundations necessary at this site necessitated shortening the approach spans. The solution to the height issue was to use steep 6.5 percent approach grades and a relatively short 400-foot vertical curve at the main span’s center. In this way, the required height was achieved while the length of the approach viaducts was kept to a minimum.

It also had wind stability issues comparable to the Whitestone Bridge and the original Tacoma Narrows Bridge, which fell shortly after opening. As a result of the past issues, multiple cables supports linking cables to the tower and the tower to the deck were installed on Deer Isle Bridge. These added support cables make it so that the storm can handle essentially any wind it may face.

The project was also hampered by the fact that it had to be completed by early summer. This meant that much of the work had to be completed during the winter and early spring months when weather conditions were very challenging. Steinman and the contractors overcame this challenge by prefabricating many of the components offsite and completing the majority of the assembly during low tide. Site-specific improvements in prefabrication and construction technologies reduced outdoor work on the site and diverged from standard bridge-building practice. Despite the harsh conditions, this thorough study and preparation resulted in a project that was finished on time and on budget.

In May 2008, a re-decking project was finished. The repainting, which began in mid-2010, is now complete.

Location

Address: State Route 15, Deer Isle, Maine
Place GPS Coordinates: 44.294434, -68.688556
Parking GPS Coordinates: 44.294434, -68.688556
Parking Notes: The primary parking area is Bridge End Park on Little Deer Isle which holds a few dozen cars and is free. There are also several spots to park on Byards Point Rd in Sedgwick before crossing the bridge to Little Deer Isle.

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