The Maine and New Hampshire Departments of Transportation are permanently closing to vehicular traffic the Sarah Mildred Long Bridge, the 76-year-old structure that connects Kittery, Maine, and Portsmouth, New Hampshire, after a failure of the lift bridge August 21.
The bridge was originally set to close permanently on November 1 while construction of a new bridge, to be named the same as its predecessor, carries on. The agencies say a mechanical problem has kept the lift of the bridge in the open position. Marine traffic, the agencies say, is not affected.
Built in 1940, the Sarah Mildred Long Bridge was long known as the Maine-New Hampshire Bridge, but was renamed in 1987 after a long-time employee of the Maine-New Hampshire Interstate Bridge Authority. It is considered the “critical back-up route” when Interstate 95 bridge traffic is closed. It also carries commercial traffic on the U.S. Route 1 Bypass that includes “people and goods” headed to the Navy Shipyard in Kittery.
Construction on the new bridge began in January 2015 after a nearly two-year design process. Both departments are equally sharing the replacement costs estimated at roughly $170 million. Officials estimate the new bridge will be open to traffic in September 2017.
Below is a video of the build animation of the project released earlier this month.