Closed Maine suspension bridge used for anti-terror testing

Published 21 October 2008

DHS is using a closed Maine bridge for tests on how to fortify bridges against terrorist attacks

Yesterday we wrote about a Wisconsin experiment in which pre-cast abutments are used to speed up bridge building. This is important because sooner or later the United States will have to attend to the tens of thousands of bridges across the country which have deteriorated over the years and are now in a state of disrepair.

There are also worries about bridges being targets for terrorists. The Foster Daily Democrat reports that DHS is using the closed-down Waldo-Hancock Bridge in Prospect, Maine, to conduct tests on how better to protect suspension bridges from terrorist attacks. The 77-year-old span over the Penobscot River between Prospect and Verona Island has sat idle since it was shut down nearly two years ago, replaced by the new Penobscot Narrows Bridge.

DHS is now working with the Maine Department of Transportation on testing that involves looking at vibrations and how they affect the old bridge. Crews from the DOT and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers were on the bridge for several days earlier this month conducting tests, some of which created explosion-like booms that echoed up and down the Penobscot River near the bridge.