FALMOUTH — There were no parades, bands, fireworks or speeches to mark the opening of the new Martin’s Point Bridge to vehicle traffic Thursday.

Instead of fanfare, the bridge contractor, in consultation with engineers from the Maine Department of Transportation, opted to quietly open the south and northbound lanes of the bridge around 4 p.m.

CPM Constructors of Freeport also permanently closed the old Martin’s Point Bridge, which had been kept open while the new one was built, starting in 2012. In the coming months, the old structure, which is several feet lower than the new bridge, will be demolished and removed.

Martin’s Point Bridge was built in 1943 to carry Route 1 traffic over the Presumpscot River between Portland and Falmouth.

The total cost of building the new bridge and removing the old one is more than $23 million.

“I can’t believe I missed (the opening). I’m going to have to drive across it now,” Amy Lamontagne, who commutes from her home in Portland to her job in Falmouth, said Thursday night.

But for commuters who may have missed the stealth opening, the time to celebrate will come later this year when members of a volunteer celebration committee – consisting of residents and officials from Portland and Falmouth – will stage a party with live music and food on the bridge’s multi-use path, which opened June 2.

“It will be like a block party,” said Lamontagne, who serves on the committee. “We decided that it wouldn’t be feasible to close a bridge lane because we don’t want to inconvenience drivers.”

The party will be held on Sunday afternoon, Sept. 14.

Bridge opening parties are not unusual. In 2000, hundreds of Bath and Woolwich residents paraded across the new Sagadahoc Bridge – it cost more than $46 million to build – spanning the Kennebec River. There were fireworks, parties and even a YouTube video to mark the occasion.

Although it is now completely open, the new Martin’s Point Bridge is not finished. Approaches to the new bridge have not been paved and still have bumps and ruts.

The bridge railings, which are wooden now, must be replaced with permanent rails, and there is still a lot of landscaping work to be done. Two observation decks designed for fishermen and sightseeing have yet to be installed.

Interpretative signs, which will describe the bridge’s history, and a large sculpture of an Osprey spreading its wings over a nest on the Falmouth end of the bridge also need to be installed.

“They determined the new bridge was safe to drive over, but it’s not very pretty yet,” said Carol Morris, spokeswoman for the Martin’s Point Bridge project.

Morris said the remaining finish work means that commuters may experience delays or temporary closures in the coming months.