News Release for August 24, 2016

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


Sarah Long Bridge Permanently Closed to Vehicular Traffic

The New Hampshire Department of Transportation (NHDOT) and Maine Department of Transportation (MaineDOT) have decided to permanently close to motor vehicle traffic the 76-year-old Sarah Mildred Long Bridge connecting Portsmouth, New Hampshire and Kittery, Maine. This action follows a mechanical failure of the lift bridge on Sunday, August 21.

The mechanical issue in the south bridge tower was discovered on the morning of August 21. Engineers were able to lift the bridge to the “up” position at about 1:00 am on Monday, August 22 to accommodate marine traffic. By keeping the bridge in this position, federal law, which requires a bridge to be accessible to marine traffic at all times, is adhered to.

Engineers from NHDOT and MaineDOT, along with movable bridge experts, have determined the bridge is not safe for routine operation without complicated and extensive repairs. The estimated cost of repairs is upwards of $1,000,000 and would take more than six weeks to complete. Careful consideration has been given to the negative impact to motorists and the communities, versus the cost, time, and uncertainty involved in any repair of this magnitude.

The Sarah Mildred Long Bridge was already scheduled to close permanently in 10 weeks on November 1, 2016 to make way for continuing construction of the new Sarah Mildred Long Bridge that is on schedule to open in September 2017.

Detours are in place for motorists to use alternative routes between Portsmouth and Kittery via the Interstate 95 “High Level” Bridge and the Memorial Bridge (US Route 1).

The Long Bridge will continue to remain open for marine traffic on the Piscataqua River.