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April 04. 2013 9:31PM

Sarah Mildred Long Bridge damage estimated at $2 million

PORTSMOUTH - Damage to the Sarah Mildred Long Bridge caused when a tanker struck it Monday is estimated at $2.5 million.

The bridge took a "big hit" when the 473-foot, Portuguese-flagged tanker MV Harbour Feature came loose at the state pier and struck the bridge, damaging a pier and structural supports.

Cianbro of Pittsfield, Maine, has been hired by the Maine and New Hampshire departments of transportation to perform the repair work and has begun steel fabrication, staging and mobilization.

Original, detailed fabrication drawings of the bridge dating to the late 1930s were obtained from the company involved with the bridge's construction, Harrington & Cortelyou/BMcD, Inc. of Kansas City, Mo., which NH DOT officials said will help expedite the steel fabrication and repairs.

The work is expected to take about a month to complete and the bridge is closed to vehicular traffic until it is completed.

NH DOT officials say they are confident the aging bridge can be repaired and reopened.

The State of Maine is currently in the design phase for a replacement bridge, with the hope of starting construction in 2014.

NH DOT spokesman Bill Boynton said ultimately they expect to recover the costs of the repair work from the company responsible for the damage to the bridge.

The investigation into what caused the tanker to come loose from the pier is still being conducted by the U.S. Coast Guard.

On Wednesday, Nordic Tankers, the commercial manager of the tanker Harbour Feature, said it has been cooperating fully with the U.S. Coast Guard and local responders.

gmacalaster@newstote.com


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