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Portsmouth bridge opening pushed back to Dec. 1

Union Leader Correspondent

November 13. 2017 10:44PM
The new Sarah Mildred Long Bridge was expected to open to traffic this month, but it will not. (KIMBERLEY HAAS/Union Leader Correspondent)

PORTSMOUTH — Commuters hoping to use the new Sarah Mildred Long Bridge connecting New Hampshire and Maine will have to wait until next month.

The date of the opening has been pushed back to Dec. 1, according to Maine Department of Transportation spokesman Ted Talbot.

Planners were hoping to have the bridge open by mid- to late-November.

Resident engineer Ron Taylor said workers still need to pave the bridge and install curbs and bridge rails on the Kittery side.

Taylor said the general contractor for the project, Cianbro, has been working diligently but there is still a lot of work to be completed.

“A few tasks haven’t gone as well as we hoped,” he said.

The 4-million-pound center span of the bridge was floated into place Oct. 18. The 300-foot lift span is supported by four 200-foot concrete towers. When it is fully opened, there will be as much clearance as the neighboring Interstate 95 bridge, according to officials with Maine DOT.

The Sarah Mildred Long Bridge is the middle bridge connecting Portsmouth to Maine. Crews working on the bridge have faced extremely swift currents on the Piscataqua River as well as tidal fluctuations of nine to 10 feet.

In addition, the area is windy. The wind during the storm Oct. 30 knocked a scaffolding truck off the bridge.

Taylor said winter weather in the forecast may push back the bridge’s opening even further.

“Any inclement weather we get could affect our current target date,” Taylor said.

The project is expected to be finished this summer.

For more information on the project, visit

Public Safety Portsmouth Transportation

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