Elevator issue strands 13 in bridge observatory

The Penobscot Narrows Bridge Observatory, where 13 visitors were stuck for an hour when an elevator door wouldn’t open on Tuesday afternoon.

PROSPECT — A group of visitors to the Penobscot Narrows Bridge Observatory was treated to longer than expected views of the Maine coast when the tower’s elevator doors refused to open Tuesday afternoon, leaving them stranded at the top of the 400-foot granite tower.

According to Maine Department of Transportation spokesman Ted Talbot, the doors jammed at 3:15 p.m. It took one observatory staff member and two Department of Transportation workers an hour to climb the observatory stairs and jimmy open the elevator doors, Talbot said.

The visitors were inside the observatory, not in the elevator, at the time.

Talbot was on the phone with an observatory staff member and could overhear the baker’s dozen when they finally exited the lift at the ground level.

“I heard them laughing and applauding,” he said.

During the Tuesday incident, the fans remained blowing and temperatures hovered around 72 degrees in the observatory, Talbot said.

The cause of the jam remains under investigation. According to Talbot, the last time the observatory elevator stopped working was two years ago.

“There have been different issues at different times. It’s certainly not very frequent,” he said of the elevator up to the tourist destination, which opened seven years ago. “All of these get resolved rather quickly on scene, so it’s not something where people next to go up are impeded.”

Fortunately for those stranded in the observatory Tuesday, the skies remained rather clear.

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Charles Eichacker

Charles Eichacker

Reporter at The Ellsworth American
Charles Eichacker covers the towns of Bucksport, Orland, Castine, Verona Island, Penobscot, Brooksville and Dedham. When not working on stories, he likes books, beer and the outdoors. [email protected]