UMaine engineers unveil new bridge system

ORONO, Maine (WABI) - Building better bridges and adding jobs here in Maine.

Those are the goals of a new project unveiled by the University of Maine Civil Engineering department Thursday.

"We started off with what was already existing inventions to build on that to gain our confidence and our design," said UMaine Graduate Research Assistant, Anthony Diba.

Over the last two years, engineering students and faculty at the University of Maine have been hard at work designing technology and building a new bridge system.

"It's made with a composite girder and a concrete deck on top of it," explained Dr. Habib Dagher, executive director of the UMaine Advanced Structures and Composites Center. "The composite girder weighs less than two tons on a large span which makes it very easy to build."

The innovative and rapidly deployable bridge system was unveiled and tested Thursday.

Engineers, investors, and business leaders from around the country gathered to witness the strength testing using computer-controlled hydraulic equipment that allows the heaviest of truck loads.

"We can put up to four-two lane bridges on one flatbed truck with this technology and we only need a small crane to build the bridge." said Dagher.

Graduate Research Assistant, Anthony Diba has been working on this project as part of his thesis.

He says they have all done their homework and are confident that this new system will be the future of Maine's infrastructure.

"Everything that has been done from over here was using already existing bridge codes and using those to manufacture our beam right here in the center and now set it up for testing," explained Diba.

The goal is to be able to speed up construction, while adding more jobs here in Maine.

"That's the dream of every engineer," said Diba. "You know you build something and solve something and people benefit from that problem, and hopefully with this bridge people benefit for the next 100 years."