Visit the "Building a New Landmark" section to checkout what it took to construct this unique landmark.
About the Observatory
The Penobscot Narrows Bridge and Observatory is located in the heart of midcoast Maine. The bridge spans the Penobscot River, linking the town of Prospect with Verona, just south and a bit downriver from the town of Bucksport.
At the ground level of the observatory, the interior floor and exterior terrace are paved in granite from the nearby Mosquito Mountain quarry, as are the granite wall sheathings and entry facings. And in a nod to neighboring Fort Knox, the observatory entryway and its iron gate are designed to replicate the granite pediment of this historic and distinguished neighbor.
Interpretive panels at the top and the base of the observatory give visitors a sense of the importance and richness of this site from a historical, transportation and natural history perspective, providing a fascinating background to one of the most beautiful locations on the Penobscot River.
The crowning achievement of this structure is, of course, the observatory. Located 420 feet in the air at the top of the western pylon, it creates an experience that gives visitors an extraordinary 360-degree panoramic view of the river, the bay and the surrounding Maine countryside.
- The Penobscot Narrows Bridge is one of only four bridge observatories in the world. The other three are in China, Thailand and Slovakia.
- The observatory is at 420 feet in elevation - that’s 42 stories – which makes it the tallest public occupied structure in Maine and the highest bridge observatory in the world.
- The granite floor in the observatory is from a quarry in Deer Isle and includes an inlaid compass rose to orient the public to the four directions. The bronze compass rose is fashioned after a design taken from a map by Samuel de Champlain (1567 – 1635), an early french explorer who passed by this site on his way up the Penobscot River.
- The design of the Penobscot Narrows Bridge incorporates a granite theme to honor the significance that granite has in the local economy.
- The Washington Monument was partially built with granite from nearby Mt. Waldo, leading to the design of the two towers in the shape of the Washington Monument.
- The bridge spans 2,120 feet from the east shore to the west shore, and rises 135 feet above the Penobscot River.
- The bridge cost $85 million to design and build. This bridge was planned, funded, designed, permitted and built in only 42 months.
- The structure has won multiple awards, including the 2007 IBC George S. Richardson Medal, and was a finalist for the international Outstanding Civil Engineering Achievement Award.