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Hampden bridge latest project turned reality for UMaine students

The latest project-turned-reality by Orono engineering students being celebrated.
The latest project-turned-reality by Orono engineering students being celebrated.(WABI)
Updated: May. 21, 2021 at 7:44 PM EDT
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HAMPDEN, Maine (WABI) -It’s a bridge of the future now in place in Hampden, and it started with UMaine students.

It’s the latest project-turned-reality by Orono engineering students being celebrated.

Senator Susan Collins, said, “It’s a very exciting day for the state of Maine and Composite Technology, but we’re going to have the first bridge.”

“It’s an unbelievable achievement when you think about it.”

Traffic is moving across the Grist Mill Bridge in Hampden, and dozens of people involved in the project came together to celebrate it.

Habib Dagher, University of Maine said, “It’s really exciting.”

Exciting technology being regarded as cutting edge and a big part of the future of infrastructure thanks to engineering students at the University of Maine.

“I’m so privileged to have such wonderful people work,” Dagher explained.

The patented G-Beam technology is a result of research and development at the U-Maine Composites Center.

They licensed it to AIT Bridges who manufactured it in their Brewer facility - they’re even sending a bridge to Florida next week.

Brit Svobada, Executive Chairman, AITT Bridges, said, “Our vision always has been to create Maine jobs with Maine students and the general public to work here in Maine with great jobs and great opportunities, but then also provide composite sustainable solutions to the infrastructure industry and now we’re getting calls around the world.”

And while the future of this technology is so bright, what can’t be overshadowed is that it started with students.

Andrew Schanck, Research Engineer, Advanced Structures and Composites Center, said, “It’s really great to start from something in the engineering world or academia. You always design something and do something on paper, but that’s a whole other level to see it out in the real world, serving a community.”

The materials are lightweight and easy to transport.

It’s also corrosion resistant and designed to last for more than 100 years

“It really is sort of the culmination of everything that we’ve been doing for a very long time, and again, to see it go from something that’s just on paper and something theoretical to actually having, having trucks coming behind me interrupting this interview over this bridge, it’s just, it’s incredible,” Designer, AIT, Anthony Diba, said.

They’re also starting bridge projects around the country and more in Maine - including another in Hampden.

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