January 15, 2013

Memorial Bridge's south span put in place

The Associated Press

PORTSMOUTH, N.H. – A section of the new Memorial Bridge connecting New Hampshire and Maine has moved to its new location. The bridge's new 2 million-pound south span was transported by barge from the State Pier in Portsmouth onto rebuilt piers in the Piscataqua River on Tuesday.

click image to enlarge

Tug boats are used to position a new 2 million-pound section of the Memorial Bridge Tuesday Jan. 15, 2013 in Portsmouth, N.H. The new bridge will connect Maine and New Hampshire and is expected to open in July. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)

U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, Gov. Maggie Hassan and New Hampshire Department of Transportation Commissioner Chris Clement were among the onlookers.

The original bridge opened in 1923 and closed to vehicular traffic in July 2011.

Shaheen said the bridge, which connects Portsmouth and Kittery, is an important economic connection between Maine and New Hampshire.

"Some of the merchants in downtown Portsmouth told me they're losing 20 to 30 percent a day in terms of business because of the bridge being closed," Shaheen said.

Crews are adjusting the 300-foot-long span's elevation with a temporary jacking system onto the bearing on the top of each pier.

The barge was expected to be moved out from under the bridge during low tide Tuesday night.

Workers will then start to assemble the north span which is expected to be put in place in March. That will be on the Maine side.

The bridge is expected to open in July.


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