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U.S. DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, Office of the Secretary, Office of Public Affairs, Washington, DC 20590

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, October 29, 2004
Contact: Doug Hecox, 202-366-0660
FHWA 20-04d

Grant to Pay For New Penobscot River Bridge in Maine

A new $400,000 Federal Highway Administration grant for replacing the aging Waldo-Hancock Bridge over the Penobscot River will improve safety for Maine drivers, said U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta.

"The Bush Administration is passionate about safety and has a strong record to show for it," said Secretary Mineta. "Our roads are safer than ever before and today we're putting a down payment on even safer roads."

The new bridge is the state's highest priority transportation project in Maine and expected to be completed in 2006. Its design features wider lanes and shoulders and greater separation between the lanes. It also provides for the addition of sidewalks should future needs demand them.

The bridge is expected to become a tourist attraction because of its unique features. Twin pylons will resemble the Washington Monument in Washington, D.C., and an observation deck 400 feet above the Penobscot River will offer scenic views

The existing bridge was built in 1931 to replace a two-car ferry. David Steinman, who designed California's world-famous Golden Gate Bridge, also designed the Waldo-Hancock Bridge.

Now carrying 8,000 vehicles per day, the bridge is a vital economic link on U.S. Route 1 between the Mid-coast and Downeast regions of the state and the international maritime commerce of Maine's coast. It also is the only route for emergency services for several small communities.

"The new bridge will improve safety, strengthen a key commercial corridor and give residents and visitors alike another opportunity to see the area's scenic beauty. That's why these new funds represent a good investment for Maine motorists and visitors."

Since 1991, the FHWA has provided funds to states seeking to improve the safety, longevity or utility of key bridges using innovative materials or designs.

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