NHDOT Engineers Shut Down Memorial Bridge for Repairs

Fri December 31, 2010 - Northeast Edition

The New Hampshire Department of Transportation (NHDOT) and the Maine Department of Transportation (MaineDOT) announced the closure to motor vehicle traffic of the Memorial Bridge carrying U.S. Route 1 over the Piscataqua River between Portsmouth, N.H., and Kittery, Maine

The bridge closure took place at noon on Dec. 9. Based upon a detail review of the most recent detailed inspection of the Memorial Bridge, engineers at the NHDOT, the lead agency on this lift bridge, have determined the closure is necessary due to the deterioration of two gusset plates. One gusset plate is located on the Maine fixed span, and one is located on the New Hampshire fixed span. Both locations are on the upstream side of the bridge. Gusset plates connect bridge beams or truss members to load-bearing columns.

The Memorial Bridge will remain open to bicycle and pedestrian traffic on the downstream sidewalk. Bridge lift operations will continue for marine traffic.

Signed detours will be in place on both sides of the Piscataqua River during the bridge closure directing motorists to either the Sarah Long Bridge (U.S. 1 Bypass) or the Interstate 95 high level bridge.

The NHDOT is looking at potential repair options, and will decide in consultation with the Maine DOT what can be done to reopen the bridge to a 3-ton (2.7 t) weight limit.