News Release for January 5, 2015

For more Information:
Paul Merrill, Public Information Officer - 207-624-3355 or 207-215-9297



Kittery, Maine (January 5th, 2015): The Maine Department of Transportation and the New Hampshire Department of Transportation officially launched the construction phase of the Sarah Mildred Long Bridge Replacement Project. The January 5th event featured dignitaries from Maine, New Hampshire and beyond including U.S. Senator Susan Collins, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen, Maine Governor Paul R. LePage, New Hampshire Governor Maggie Hassan, Acting Administrator of the Federal Highway Administration Greg Nadeau, MaineDOT Commissioner David Bernhardt and former New Hampshire DOT Commissioner Christopher D. Clement.

Local residents and business people participated in the event where they had the opportunity to sign a commemorative construction trestle plate that will be installed on the project. The commemorative trestle plate is unique to the bridge and was done in white to stand out amongst the traditional black trestles. Children from local daycare programs participated by placing their handprints on the trestle plate.

“This is another vital project that helps to keep Maine infrastructure solid and safe,” said Maine Governor Paul R. LePage. “The bridge represents not only excellent cooperation between the two states; it stands as a testament to MaineDOT’s commitment to stretch the dollar by ensuring we build a good bridge for a good price.”

The Sarah Mildred Long Bridge spans the Piscataqua River between Kittery, Maine and Portsmouth, New Hampshire. The project began in 2013 with the initial design and has a scheduled completion date of September 2017 with year-round construction. Traffic will only be impacted for around ten months at the end of the project as it intercepts the old bridge at the Kittery side. During that time, traffic will be detoured to the Piscataqua River Bridge on I-95.

The new bridge was designed by a joint venture between specialty bridge design firms FIGG I Hardesty & Hanover. Maine-based Cianbro is the construction firm for the project. The bridge will be constructed as a precast segmental concrete bridge. The lift span will have a deck that will lift for ships and lower for the rail. It will have a higher elevation and will reduce the need to lift the deck by 68%, which will minimize traffic impacts. The navigational opening will also be wider, allowing for much safer ship passage and will better accommodate larger ships.

“We are excited to officially start the construction phase of this project,” said MaineDOT Commissioner David Bernhardt. “The new Sarah Mildred Long Bridge will serve as a spectacular gateway vista for those crossing on the high level I-95 bridge and will be an iconic landmark for the next 100 years.”

The project is expected to cost approximately $158.5 million. In early September of 2014, a $25 million TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) Grant was awarded to Maine and New Hampshire for the rail portion of the bridge.

“Federal funding has long been a necessary part of road and bridge funding nationwide, but our TIGER funds are also a vital tool for ambitious projects like this one,” said Acting Federal Highway Administrator Gregory Nadeau. “Projects such as the Sarah Mildred Long Bridge can ease traffic congestion, get goods to market faster and help area residents get to and from home and work safely and efficiently.”

“As the Ranking Member of the Senate Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee, I am a strong supporter of the TIGER program, and improving our nation’s transportation system continues to be one of my top priorities. The Sarah Mildred Long Bridge project is a great example of how two states can successfully work together to improve an important river crossing,” said U.S. Senator Susan Collins. “This new bridge is also critical for Kittery and the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, which relies heavily on it for the safe transportation of materials from the shipyard. It is absolutely essential that shipyard facilities and infrastructure match the skill and dedication of the men and women who work there, and this project is an important step toward that end.”

ABOUT THE SARAH MILDRED LONG BRIDGE REPLACEMENT PROJECT The Sarah Mildred Long (SML) Bridge Replacement Project is a partnership between Maine and New Hampshire DOT’s to build a new US Route 1 Bypass across the Piscataqua River between Kittery, Maine and Portsmouth, New Hampshire. This is one of three (3) critical bridges comprising the regional crossing of the Piscataqua River.

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