AUGUSTA, Maine -- The replacement for Maine's aging Waldo-Hancock Bridge will be named the Downeast Gateway Bridge to reflect the span's location at the entrance to the Down East region of the state.
The name was announced Friday following months of deliberation during which hundreds of suggestions ranging from silly to serious were submitted.
''The Downeast Gateway Bridge is the greatest piece of civil engineering in the state's history, and the proposed name reflects the significance of the bridge to the entire state and acknowledges that the bridge belongs to all Mainers," said Senator Richard Rosen, Republican of Bucksport.
The name suggestions included ''The Wicked Good Bridge," ''The Big Scary Bridge," and ''The Prosperona Bridge," for the towns of Prospect and Verona Island that are on opposite ends of the span. Other suggestions included ''Penobscot Narrows" and simply ''The Waldo-Hancock."
Historians and architectural specialists were consulted before a committee made its decision.
The Waldo-Hancock Bridge was a toll bridge when it opened in 1931, after being built for $846,000. The new structure is a cable-stayed bridge with two towers rising from the banks of the Penobscot River and a roadway held up by steel cables. It will feature a 420-foot glass-enclosed observation tower with 360-degree views.
The $84 million structure is scheduled to open to vehicular traffic by the end of the year, according to the Department of Transportation. The span and the observation deck will be opened to pedestrians in the fall.