The float-in of the lift span for the new Sarah Mildred Long Bridge, which connects Kittery, Maine and Portsmouth, New Hampshire across the Piscataqua River, took place on Wednesday, October 18th, 2017. The rising tide lifted the span to clear the bearings.
Once complete and placed in-service, the new lift span will weigh approximately 4 million pounds or 2,000 tons. The new bridge alignment will improve marine navigation by increasing the navigational clearance allowing larger ships to access the port and shipyard. With a larger 56’ vertical clearance in its resting position, there will be 68% fewer bridge openings. 200’ tall precast concrete towers will support the 300’ long streamlined structural steel box girder lift span.
There are eight operating ropes (steel cables) that pull the counterweights up and down to lift and lower the bridge. If laid end to end these operating ropes would stretch over a mile and the forty counterweight ropes that support the four corners of the new lifts span would extend over two miles.
The new bridge is expected to open to traffic in November. The project is expected to cost approximately $160 million and is scheduled to be fully completed by June 1st, 2018.
To learn more about the project: Sarah Mildred Long