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Bailey Island Bridge

Cribstone Bridge

Bailey Island Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Cameron Monaghan

Bridge Documented: 2020

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Key Facts

Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
ME-24 (Harpswell Islands Road) Over Will's Gut
Harpswell: Cumberland County, Maine: United States
Structure Type
Concrete T-Beam, Fixed and Approach Spans: Stone Slab, Fixed
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1926 By Builder/Contractor: Unknown and Engineer/Design: Llewellyn N. Edwards

Technical Facts

Rehabilitation Date
Main Span Length
52 Feet (15.9 Meters)
Structure Length
1,167 Feet (355.7 Meters)
Roadway Width
18 Feet (5.49 Meters)
1 Main Span(s) and 78 Approach Span(s)
NBI Number

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)
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Bridge Documentation

Noted for its dry-laid stone substructure, this is reportedly the only known example in the world of a cribstone bridge, specially designed to allow tidal waters to pass through. The main span is a concrete t-beam bridge. The long approach is the portion supported by the stone crib, which is capped off with a concrete slab deck.

View Archived National Bridge Inventory Report - Has Additional Details and Evaluation

View Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) Documentation For This Bridge

HAER Data Pages, PDF

View National Register of Historic Places Nomination Form For This Bridge

View Article About This Bridge

Information and Findings From Maine's Historic Bridge Inventory

Discussion of Bridge

Although the main span of the granite crib bridge is a T beam, and it is typed accordingly. It was designed in 1926 by the first state bridge engineer, Llewellyn Edwards. For a long bridge located in a tidal setting, Edwards brilliantly devised a granite crib through which the tide could ebb and flow. The bridge is apparently unique in the United States, but it is reportedly inspired by similar but now non-extant bridges in Scotland. Although certainly something of an experiment, Edwards had well justified reasons for building such an unusual structure, and it had everything to do with location. For all but a narrow channel, the bridge would rest on a rock shelf and never be more than a few feet below water at low tide, but the tide itself had a very strong current. The weight of the granite slabs would be enough to withstand the tide, but the openings between them would allow the tide to flow freely without greatly increasing its velocity. Furthermore, there was an excellent granite quarry nearby. The bridge is considered as Edwards most important work in the state. The bridge has been designated a national ASCE landmark. It is an exceptional preservation priority because it is a unique and successful design by a noted early 20th century bridge engineer.

Bridge Considered Historic By Survey: Yes


Photo Galleries and Videos: Bailey Island Bridge

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