Time capsule buried to commemorate new Sarah Mildred Long Bridge
By KIMBERLEY HAAS
Union Leader Correspondent
June 09. 2018 9:43PM
The new Sarah Mildred Long Bridge connecting Portsmouth and Kittery, Maine, was closed to traffic for a few hours Friday so people could enjoy the new span on foot. (Kimberley Haas/Sunday News Correspondent)
A commemorative fidget spinner from the U.S. Navy, toll tokens and a bottle of whiskey from the state liquor commission were among the items placed in a time capsule Friday to mark the opening of the new Sarah Mildred Long Bridge.
The new span was open to traffic March 30, but the celebration last week gave people from both Maine and New Hampshire the opportunity to explore the $163 million structure on foot, take photos and hear from dignitaries.
Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., who was governor when ground broke for the bridge in January of 2015, said it will enhance citizens, promote economic development and strengthen national security due to its proximity to Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. She placed a lapel pin and letter about the importance of working together in the time capsule.
The Sarah Long Bridge was built by the state of Maine and will be maintained by the state of New Hampshire.
Maine Gov. Paul LePage said the bridge will help to bring millions of expected tourists to his state. Maine had 36.7 million visitors last year.
"This replacement bridge is a reminder that Maine borders only one state. Our physical link to other states is through New Hampshire," LePage said.
He also gave a tip of the hat to Maine-based Cianbro, who built the span.
Among the members of the audience for the ceremony was a 73-year-old woman named Sarah Long. The Amesbury, Mass., woman decided to attend the event because she has a special connection to the bridge that goes beyond her name.
"My mother has a picture of me at about 4 years old walking southbound hand-in-hand with my father. I don't know why she had it, but I felt I could not pass this opportunity up," Long said.
The original bridge was opened in 1940 and was simply known as the Maine-New Hampshire Bridge until it was renamed in 1987 to honor Sarah Mildred Long, a 50-year employee of the Maine-New Hampshire Interstate Bridge Authority. She started in 1937 as a secretary and worked her way up to the position of executive director.