October 13, 2019
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Penobscot Narrows Bridge Observatory opening delayed for weeks

Kevin Bennett | BDN
Kevin Bennett | BDN
The Penobscot Narrows Observatory

The seasonal opening of the Penobscot Narrows Bridge Observatory will be delayed for several weeks, potentially until Memorial Day weekend, according to the Maine Department of Transportation.

The observatory was scheduled to open May 1, but the Department of Transportation earlier this week said it would push back the opening by at least a week. Now, the delay will be much longer than the DOT initially expected.

A failed valve on the observatory’s fire suppression system is the reason for the delay, according to Department of Transportation spokesman Paul Merrill.

The department found a leaking valve when restarting the water-based fire suppression system for the season. Merrill said frozen pipes might have caused the leak.

The department has ordered a replacement valve, but it needs to be specially constructed, which is causing the longer-than-expected wait.

“The observatory’s fire suppression system needs to be fully operational before the Maine Department of Transportation can open the observatory to the public,” Merrill said in an email. “We hope to be able to open the observatory by Memorial Day weekend.”

The 2,120-foot-long, cable-stayed Penobscot Narrows Bridge, which carries U.S. Route 1 over the Penobscot River between Verona Island and Prospect, is the tallest public observatory bridge in the world.

The observatory offers 360-degree views of the Penobscot River, Penobscot Bay and beyond.

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