KITTERY (AP) — Construction is starting at an aging bridge that connects New Hampshire and Maine.

The 70-year-old Sarah Mildred Long Bridge connects Kittery and Portsmouth, New Hampshire. It is rated structurally deficient.

Dignitaries from both states gathered Monday at the Kittery Community Center at Frisbee Common to mark the official start of the project. Members of the public had a chance to sign a commemorative construction trestle that will be installed on the project later in the week.

New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, who attended the ceremony, said the bridge replacement is long overdue. Others included Gov. Maggie Hassan and Maine Sen. Susan Collins.

In September, transportation officials from both states reached a $158.5 million tentative price agreement to replace the bridge. It’s expected to open in August 2017.

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