The Wire bridge is worth visiting. This Maine bridge may be the last wire-supported bridge of its type in the world! If not the world at least in the United States. Crossing the Carrabassett River is a unique experience one car at a time.
A Bit of History for this Bridge
Don’t you just love a mystery? The origins of this bridge go back before the Town of New Portland kept financial records. The only thing we can know for sure is that by 1866 there was a Wire Bridge in New Portland.
It was right around this time that 4 bridges were built in Maine, with timber-on-granite tower structures at each end, a wooden plank roadbed in the middle, and cables (or “wires” – hence the name) holding everything up.
The other three wire bridges have since been torn down and replaced, and bits of this one has been restored and preserved over the years. The planks of the roadbed have been replaced at least once, but it’s still the same wire holding everything together.
Wooden Planks and wire struts
The bridge spans 198 ft. Between those 198 feet are timbers and towers that have carried 150 years of horses, carriages, Model T’s, pick-ups and minivans through the splendor of deep woods Maine. And as far as anyone can tell, it’s the only one of its kind left and I drove over it! I watched a car pass over the bridge before I gave it a try. Bouncy, bouncy , bouncy. Oh yeah, had to give it a try. It actually felt much more stable driving over it than walking. You just don’t feel the bounce that you see when you watch a car drive over it.
Follow the signs off Rte 146 in North New Portland, you will eventually come to Wire Bridge Rd.
New Portland is in the Maine woods, about half way between Bangor and the Canadian border. Only about 725 people live there, and every one of them could probably point you to their showpiece – the old Wire Bridge.
Many Thanks to the Atlas Obscura for the history of the Wire Bridge