Mendez Looks at Preparations for New Memorial Bridge Connecting NH & ME

AASHTO Journal, 10 February 2012

Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez reviewed Wednesday preparations for the construction of the new Memorial Bridge connecting Portsmouth, New Hampshire; and Kittery, Maine.”It’s a great day for this region,” Mendez said in a statement. “Work will start soon, which means jobs as well as a much-needed new bridge.”

The $90 million project relies on $72 million in federal funding, including a $20 million Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery grant awarded in October 2010.

The old Memorial Bridge now undergoing demolition was permanently closed in July 2011 for safety reasons, drastically inconveniencing residents and businesses in the region. Trucks and emergency vehicles were already prohibited by a three-ton weight limit imposed because of severe deterioration, including extensive corrosion and loss of steel sections. In the past, an average of 12,100 vehicles used the bridge each day.

Scheduled to open to traffic in 2013, the new bridge will accommodate future traffic volumes with no load restrictions as well as bicyclists, pedestrians, and marine vessels. It replaces a bridge that was ranked highest on the state’s priority list, according to the Federal Highway Administration, and the costs to operate and maintain the new bridge will be lower than with the old bridge.

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