Waldo-Hancock Bridge, Spanning Penobscot River at U.S. Route 1, Bucksport, Hancock County, ME
Photo Caption Pages
Spanning Penobscot River at U.S. Route 1, Bucksport vicinity, ME
Find maps of Bucksport, ME
Documentation compiled after 1968.
Survey number HAER ME-65
Building/structure dates: 1931 initial construction
Part of building/structure is in Prospect, Waldo County, ME.
Significance: The Waldo-Hancock Bridge was the first long-span suspension bridge erected in Maine, as well as the first permanent bridge across the Penobscot below Bangor. Technologically, the Waldo-Hancock Bridge represents a number of firsts. It was one of the first two bridges in the U.S. (along with the St. Johns Bridge in Portland, Oregon, completed in June, 1931) to employ Robinson and Steinman's prestressed twisted wire strand cables, which were first used on the 1929 Grand Mere Bridge over the St. Maurice River in Quebec. The prefabrication and prestressing of the cables decreased the number of field adjustments required, saving considerable time, effort, and money. As an additional experiment in efficiency, the Waldo-Hancock cables were marked prior to construction, ensuring proper setting. This method had never been used before and proved successful in this instance. These innovations, invented and pioneered by Steinman, were a significant step forward for all builders of suspension bridges. The Waldo-Hancock was also the first bridge to make use of the Vierendeel truss in its two towers, giving it an effect that Steinman called "artistic, emphasizing horizontal and vertical lines." This attractive and effective truss design was later used in a number of important bridges, including the Triborough and Golden Gate bridges. The Waldo-Hancock Bridge was noted at the time for its economy of design and construction. It cost far less than had been appropriated by the State Highway Commission, which enabled the construction of a second bridge between Verona Island and Bucksport. As part of U.S. Route 1, it remains in active use today, nearly 70 years after its completion.
Steinman, David B.
American Bridge Company
Merritt-Chapman & Scott Corporation
Historic American Engineering Record (Library of Congress)
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