Perkin Bridge Gets an Upgrade 

The Perkins Bridge in Belfast is getting an upgrade.As Meghan Hayward tells us, the bridge is being built with technology developed at the University of Maine.The Perkins Bridge in Belfast has been carrying motorists across it since 1921.It’s been deteriorating, which has forced the state to consider a more durable option.”The bridge is being reconstructed using technology called bridge in a backpack. Something that was developed at the University of Maine.”The technology was funded by the U.S. Army.Structural engineer Daniel Bannon says they were interested in a system for rapidly constructing bridges that could be built out in the field, which is how it got its name….”The arches can come to the site rolled up in tubes that can then be taken out of the backpack and inflated with air to form their tubular shape and then infused with resin and then the composite fabric hardens and basically has twice the strength of steel.”The new composite technology is licensed by Advanced Infrastructure Technologies, which is a spin-off company from the University of Maine.Bannon says all the technology was developed at the Advanced Composites Center at UMaine.”This will be the sixth bridge built using this technology.”They’ve even had folks outside the country show interest in working with them.”This has been the biggest bridge built using this technology yet. This bridge is about 48 feet in span.”Bannon says it’s a great thing for the state.”It’s an area of opportunity for the composites industry for increased jobs. Again, the technology is developed in Maine. We are the designers and suppliers of the arches and they’re manufactured right here in Maine.”