Group unveils bridge advancements

Posted Feb. 20, 2009, at 3:29 p.m.

ORONO, Maine – A Florida-based investment group which includes a man with Bangor and University of Maine connections announced Friday morning it is forming a company to expand the bridge technology program at UMaine’s Advanced Engineered Wood Composite Center.

The announcement, made by the center’s director Habib Dagher, came in a morning press conference at the wood composite center during which University of Maine representatives, state officials including Gov. John Baldacci, AEWC officials, U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud, D-Maine, celebrated the completion of the Neal Bridge in Pittsfield, which is the first bridge of its kind to utilize the AEWC’s bridge technology.

Dagher also announced Brunswick-based company Harbor Technologies will soon add 20-30 jobs to develop a different bridge technology that the wood composite center lab has helped develop.

The AEWC will test Harbor Technology’s bridge in the next few months. If the technology holds up, the Maine Department of Transportation will use it in a 500-foot bridge in Boothbay and other bridges around the state.

Advanced Infrastructure Technologies, LLC, will be run by Bangor native Brit Svoboda, who is a Florida-based commercial real estate developer.

Mark Rasmus, Svoboda’s partner in their business R & S Development Company, LLC of Bonita Springs, Fla., will also be involved in AIT along with several other investors.

The timing worked well with the passing of the federal economic stimulus package, which includes billions of dollars for infrastructure work.

Baldacci, Collins, Michaud and others cut a ribbon symbolic of the opening of the Neal Bridge, which actually opened for traffic in December.

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