AASHTO Journal, 5 April 2013
An oil tanker that broke free from the pier at which it was docked floated along the Piscataqua River and ran into the Sarah Long Bridge in Portsmouth, New Hampshire on Monday, causing structural damage to the bridge. The crossing serves as a major connection between New Hampshire and Maine and the bridge will remain closed for two to four weeks to vehicle traffic, though maritime traffic remains open.
Local news WMUR 9 in New Hampshire reported that the damage was done to the New Hampshire side of the bridge. Some vertical supports were reportedly bent and concrete piers also were hit. News outlet SeaCoastOnline.com reported that divers found Wednesday that two beams on the bridge need to be replaced, while one pier sustained damage.
“The bridge took a big hit,” Bill Boynton, New Hampshire Department of Transportation spokesman, told SeaCoastOnline. “All of the attention right now by the New Hampshire and Maine DOTs is on getting the bridge safe and back in operation.”
While the extent of the damage is still not fully known, Maine Department of Transportation announced Thursday the damage was estimated to stand at roughly $2.5 million.
The Sara Long Bridge is scheduled to be demolished and replaced with a new structure in 2014. However, repairs on the bridge to fix the damage done by the oil tanker accident must still be made to continue moving traffic through the area.