Sarah Mildred Long Bridge to reopen March 30
By KIMBERLEY HAAS
Union Leader Correspondent
March 21. 2018 8:46PM
(KIMBERLEY HAAS/Union Leader Correspondent)
A look at the Sarah Mildred Long Bridge in January.
— Officials announced Wednesday that the Sarah Mildred Long Bridge will open to traffic March 30.
The bridge connects Portsmouth to Kittery, Maine, and is a joint venture between the Maine and New Hampshire Departments of Transportation.
The bridge is part of the Three Bridge Agreement that addresses jointly owned bridges spanning the Piscataqua River in Portsmouth.
According to the Maine Department of Transportation’s website there are remaining items to be completed on what is locally known as the “middle bridge,” but they can finish the work with traffic control measures including occasional lane closures and closures during overnight hours.
Officials said they will continue to update the public with specific times as March 30 approaches.
There has been no one reason cited for the delays in opening the new bridge, but recent coastal storms with gale force winds and heavy precipitation have not helped. Officials said wind limited work on the towers.
The bridge was originally scheduled to open Sept. 1, 2017.
Cianbro is the contractor for the more than $160 million project. Construction started in January of 2015.
FIGG Bridge Group of Tallahassee, Fla., the engineering firm on the bridge project, also designed the pedestrian bridge that collapsed in Florida last week killing six.
Bill Boynton, public information officer for the New Hampshire Department of Transportation, told the New Hampshire Union Leader last week: “Both Maine DOT and NH DOT feel the issues surrounding the pedestrian bridge collapse in Florida are unrelated to the SML bridge. Both Maine and NH DOTs are confident that the design for the SML was accomplished in accordance with national standards and construction has been thoroughly inspected to ensure the bridge’s safety.”
The Sarah Mildred Long Bridge was closed months earlier than expected in 2016 when the center span became stuck in the up position that August.
Traffic has been rerouted to the Interstate 95 bridge and the Memorial Bridge since.
About 14,000 vehicles crossed the old Sarah Mildred Long Bridge daily. It opened in 1940 to replace a river crossing at its location that dated back to 1822, according to Wikipedia.
Construction is set to begin on the Interstate 95 bridge in 2019 and will take between two and three years to complete.
Those rehabilitation plans estimate a $28 million cost to be shared between Maine and New Hampshire residents.