Sarah Long Bridge permanently closed to traffic

Sarah Mildred Long Bridge (Maine DOT)

KITTERY (WGME) -- The New Hampshire Department of Transportation and the Maine Department of Transportation have decided to permanently close the 76-year-old Sarah Mildred Long Bridge, connecting Portsmouth, New Hampshire and Kittery. This action follows a mechanical failure of the lift bridge on Sunday.

The mechanical issue in the south bridge tower was discovered Sunday morning. Engineers were able to lift the bridge to the “up” position around 1 a.m. Monday to accommodate marine traffic, according to the Maine DOT.

Engineers from NHDOT and MaineDOT, along with movable bridge experts, have determined the bridge is not safe for routine operation without complicated and extensive repairs.

The estimated cost of repairs is upwards of $1,000,000 and would take more than six weeks to complete.

The Sarah Long Bridge was already scheduled to close permanently on November 1 to make way for continuing construction of the new Sarah Mildred Long Bridge that is on schedule to open in September 2017.

Detours are in place for motorists to use alternative routes between Portsmouth and Kittery via the Interstate 95 “High Level” Bridge and the Memorial Bridge (US Route 1).

The Long Bridge will continue to remain open for marine traffic on the Piscataqua River.

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