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Construction Will Halt On Piscataqua River Bridge Over Busy Holiday Weekend

piscataqua river bridge
J. Ronald Lee
/
jronaldlee.com
The Piscataqua River Bridge (Photo © 2010 J. Ronald Lee)

The state is temporarily suspending work on the Piscataqua River Bridge so it can open a third lane in both directions over the busy holiday weekend.

Maine Transportation Department Spokesman Paul Merrill says workers have been making good progress in a multi-year effort to rehabilitate the span, which carries Interstate 95 between Kittery and Portsmouth and is the major gateway into Maine from the south.

"We hope to extend the life of the bridge by about a half-century. It needs, you know, some safety updates. And we've replaced a lot of the structure," Merrill says.

Travel across the bridge has recently been restricted to two lanes to give crews more room to work.

Among the work being done is installation of so-called "intelligent transportation" systems. When completed next year, it will enable the state to better monitor traffic on the bridge and open the breakdown lane to traffic to ease congestion.

"Once the bridge is outfitted with the IT that it needs, we'll be able to allow drivers to use the breakdown lane as a travel lane when volume becomes heavy," Merrill says.