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Maine-NH Bridge, Stuck in the Up Position, Won’t Reopen to Traffic

The Sarah Mildred Long Bridge won’t be reopened to vehicle traffic. A gear failed over the weekend, preventing the bridge from lowering into its proper position.

State Transportation Department spokesman Ted Talbot says the fix is just too expensive.

“Extensive repairs, upward of $1 million worth of repairs, would have been needed to get this back operable,” he says. “And, even then, it wouldn’t be necessarily guaranteed to operate smoothly and efficiently, like we need to have it.”

The bridge carries Route 1-A across the Piscataqua River between Kittery and Portsmouth. It was due to be closed to traffic Nov. 1 anyway, to allow crews to build connections to a new crossing that’s due to open to traffic in Sept. 2017. Talbot says the early closing of the Long bridge shouldn’t affect that schedule.

For the next year, drivers headed between Kittery and Portsmouth will have to use Interstate 95 or the Memorial Bridge on U.S. Route 1.