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Sarah Long Bridge reopening for traffic

8:05 PM, Jan 27, 2013   |    comments
  • Bridge repair work Saturday, courtesy New Hampshire DOT
  • Sarah Long Bridge Image courtesy: portsmouthwebcam.com
    
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Update 7:00 PM Sunday... After conducting multiple tests Sunday afternoon, the bridge is back open for vehicle traffic.

Update: As of Saturday night, the bridge is open to marine traffic.  The span will be left up until 2 p.m. Sunday, and it will then be lowered for extensive testing, with the hope the bridge will be open to road traffic Monday.

PORTSMOUTH, N.H. (NEWS CENTER) -- Transportation officials said repair work was making good progress as of Saturday afternoon on a bridge that connects Maine and New Hampshire.

The center span of the 73-year-old Sarah Long Bridge became stuck Wednesday during a routine test.   Additional damage to the bridge occurred when the lift span went askew, came off its guides, and bent structural steel supporting the guides while grinding to a halt.  

As of noon Saturday, crews were estimating an additional three hours worth of structural steel repair work on the support beams connected to the lift span of the bridge.

The New Hampshire Department of Transportation said the goal was to attempt a bridge lift by late Saturday afternoon in order to allow any waiting ship traffic on the Piscataqua River to pass, however officials said there were no guarantees because the bridge had not been lifted since the Wednesday incident.

If the bridge lift attempt is successful, the span will most likely be left in the "up" position until Monday.

Transportation officials said extensive testing on the lift span is needed before the bridge can be completely opened.  

Road traffic across the bridge along the Route 1 bypass is not expected to resume until at least Monday. 

NEWS CENTER

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