VERONA ISLAND, Maine — The Penobscot Narrows Bridge remained closed at 8:40 a.m. Monday. The Maine Department of Transportation will be evaluating the bridge over the next few hours to determine when the bridge can be reopened, MDOT press secretary Ted Talbot said.
“There’s still some ice on the cables,” Talbot said. He added that Monday’s wind, rain and increased temperatures will likely accelerate the ice melting process.
The bridge was closed on Sunday to protect motorists from the ice that was melting off the bridge’s cables and falling onto the roadway.
“We realize this is inconvenient for motorists, but public safety is our top priority and we need to ensure that this unusual icing condition has been resolved,” Joyce Taylor, chief engineer for the Maine DOT, said in the prepared statement that was released on Friday.
The bridge was abruptly closed for the first time on Sunday, Dec. 29, because large chunks of ice were melting enough to become dislodged from the bridge’s cables and towers. Some falling ice landed in the roadway and damaged at least four vehicles, according to police reports. No one was injured.
The bridge reopened the following Monday night as temperatures dropped and the ice froze again. The second closure was prompted by forecasts of a sunny Sunday and temperatures rising.
Motorists trying to get from Verona Island to Prospect once again have to drive 40 miles out of their way to the nearest bridge, which is in Brewer.
The Penobscot Narrows Bridge carries Route 1 across the Penobscot River.
For information and maps of alternate routes, visit www.maine.gov/mdot/.