State officials said that the damaged brackets are "not integral to the structure of the bridge" and will be fixed eventually. Credit: Courtesy of Freya Hartmann

A photo of a disconnected bracket on the Deer Isle Bridge that was flying around social media Wednesday prompted state officials to issue a public assurance that the bridge is safe.

The photo shows what looks like a clamp that had broken away from a bundle of suspension cables. One of the people who passed it along on Facebook, Megan Carter of Sedgwick, wondered whether the busted clamp rendered the bridge unsafe.

Is it me, or is this supposed to be connected?! I dont wanna see if my Renegade can swim..#mainedot #deerislebridge #weneedanewbridge #ineedmyownboat #didsomeoneloseanut

Posted by Megan Carter on Wednesday, 25 July 2018

“Is it me, or is this supposed to be connected? I don’t want to see if my [Jeep] Renegade can swim,” Carter said with the posting, adding, #mdot #deerislebridge #weneedanewbridge #ineedmyownboat #didsomeoneloseanut.

Maine Department of Transportation officials responded to the photo with their own posting.

“Multiple people have reached out to us regarding a private photo of a disconnected element on the Deer Isle Bridge,” according to the posting on the department’s Facebook page. “MaineDOT is aware of this and has evaluated it.”

“This disconnected element is not integral to the structure of the bridge, and its purpose is to hold the cables together so that accessing higher portions is easier for our maintenance personnel,” the posting continued. “This is something that will be addressed in the future but is not jeopardizing the safety or functionality of the bridge. We do appreciate members of the public informing us of this. Thank you.”

Multiple people have reached out to us regarding a private photo of a disconnected element on the Deer Isle Bridge….

Posted by MaineDOT on Wednesday, 25 July 2018

A woman whom Carter identified as the original photographer of the bridge, Freya Hartmann of Blue Hill, said she took several pictures on Tuesday.

Hartmann originally posted three pictures on her Facebook page that included a shot of a second clamp, near the first, that was twisted. Both clamps were adjacent and near the center of the bridge, Hartmann said.

Hartmann said she “felt a little bit of shock” when she saw the clamps’ condition. She took the pictures Tuesday to bring attention to the bridge’s condition, which she feared was bad.

But she said she doesn’t notice anything particularly wrong with the bridge when she crosses. Hartmann, 38, typically uses the bridge about four times a week, usually to visit friends or to garden, she said.

“It doesn’t seem any jumpier now than it usually does,” Hartmann said. “It’s a typical suspension bridge. It makes noises. It squeaks and squawks. It always has.”

Freya Hartmann of Blue Hill took three pictures of two clamps at the center of the Deer Isle Bridge. Maine Department of…

Posted by BDN Hancock County News on Wednesday, 25 July 2018

Carter complimented the speed with which the agency responded to the postings, while Hartmann said she wished DoT had been quicker to offer reassurance.

It was unclear how the clamp had come apart, but Carter said she heard that “a box truck apparently got entangled in that line and pulled it apart.”

“It’s great that it was that easy to reach out to [state officials],” Carter said. “I’m just glad they looked. That bridge scares the crap out of me.”

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