The Maine Department of Transportation has formally entered into an agreement with Cianbro Corporation of Pittsfield, Maine, for the construction of the new Sarah Mildred Long Bridge connecting Kittery, Maine and Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
“This agreement represents a good bridge for a good price with a base bid construction cost of $158.5 million to be divided between the two states,” said MaineDOT Commissioner David Bernhardt. “The seacoast area will be well served for generations with this new bridge.”
This will be 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 percent, which will minimize traffic impacts. The navigational opening will be wider, allowing for much safer ship passage and will better accommodate larger ships.
“This agreement marks a significant milestone in this bridge replacement project,” said Cianbro President and Chief Operating Officer Andi Vigue. “It is important to note that this value was derived by the MaineDOT and its willingness to be innovative to deliver transportation projects. We look forward to the final phase of the process, the construction of this bridge.”
With the agreement signed, the first stages of construction will begin with “in-water” work scheduled to start within the first two weeks of December 2014. The current bridge will be closed for six to nine months due to its intercepting the old bridge at the Kittery side. During that time, all traffic will be detoured to the Piscataqua River Bridge on I-95.
MaineDOT will sponsor public informational presentations on the construction of the project approximately every six months led by the designers of the bridge, Figg Engineering/Hardesty & Hanover. During the summer months there will be some “tool box talks” in a safe area of the bridge to discuss the project.
In early September 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. Maine Sen. Susan Collins, ranking member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation as well as Maine Sen. Angus King and Maine Congresswoman Chellie Pingree were pivotal in identifying the crucial need of the grant to the USDOT.
Construction will continue year round until completion, with the bridge scheduled to open to traffic in September of 2017.
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