The Penobscot Narrows Bridge will remain closed overnight due to falling ice. Crews will reassess in the morning whether the bridge can reopen.
“It was loud–banging all around us,” said Russell Yeo of Stockton Springs.
That’s what motorists saw and heard Sunday morning as they attempted to cross the Penobscot Narrows Bridge.
“The ice storm that we had last weekend caused about an inch of ice on the cables. And today’s temperatures got warm enough so the ice started to thaw out and fall off, said Chris Woodward, a Transportation Crew Supervisor with the Maine Department of Transportation.
And once it started, it didn’t stop.
“Ice was falling off the cable stays and hitting cars and vehicles, going by and causing a great deal of damage,” said Woodward.
The DOT quickly shut down the bridge, but for Russell Yeo, who was driving eastbound, the damage was done. He saw the icefall ahead of him, but couldn’t stop fast enough.
“I had no more said, Nikki, duck, and everything else, and then the windshield caved in,” said Yeo.
The ice even made it THROUGH the windshield.
“It shattered it and it came into one spot on the passenger side where my wife was sitting,” said Yeo.
What was going through your mind, I asked Yeo. “It was like a Stephen King movie, it really was. I mean it was just big chunks of ice coming down and it’s like holy cow, here we go,” said Yeo.
Neither Yeo nor his wife was injured, but their vehicle had to be towed once they made it across.
“Dented in the roof and blew the back window out of it, all the inside stuff had fallen out,” said Yeo.
DOT crews spent the afternoon directing traffic on Route 1 on either side of the bridge to turn around.
“Plan to go out the long way around. Unfortunately there’s no easy way to get-this is the main route,” said Yeo.
The DOT expects that the remaining ice will come off the cables soon–due to warmer temperatures and rain, so that the bridge can safely reopen.
“We’ll just have to let Mother Nature do its thing,” said Woodward.
Yeo hopes something can be done to prevent others from going through the same thing.
“I’d like to see some flashing lights on either end of the bridge because if the lights were flashing watch out for falling ice, something like that, we just would have went back home,” said Yeo.
As for him and his wife–
“Just shook up. It was one of those things-just poor timing,” said Yeo.