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Memorial Bridge

memorial-bridge
We built this page Friday, February 6, 2008, just in case anyone decided to take on the New Hampshire and Maine Departments of Transportation, and fight for the rehabilitation of Memorial Bridge. The most relevant stories we could find in both local dailies are posted them here in chronological order for use as a reference. If we’ve missed anything essential, please let us know.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009
How many more studies to rehab Memorial Bridge?
Editorial, Foster’s Daily Democrat

Memorial Bridge will soon be placed on a national “endangered” list. The chance of Maine taking part in any serious rehabilitation of the span is all but extinct.

Regarding the listing, the tense is off—the bridge is on the list as of yesterday. As for Maine taking part, that remains to be seen. To quote the guy at whose park the rally took place, “We have not yet begun to fight.”

The row over how to fix the bridge was punctuated this week when a group of residents ripped into a proposal to conduct a 15-month study of the 86-year structure, one of three bridges spanning the Piscataqua River and connecting Maine and New Hampshire at Portsmouth and Kittery.

Actually, the Save Our Bridges! group sees the study as a useful—as long as it doesn’t hinder rehabilitation of both threatened bridges.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Saving our bridges is the best bet
Editorial, York Weekly
“If you see resident Richard Candee around town, be sure to congratulate him: Word got out this week the Memorial Bridge, which links Portsmouth, N.H., to Kittery, has been included on the 2009 list of 11 Most Endangered Historical Places. Compiling the list each year is the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Candee, of York, who is the vice president of the Portsmouth Historical Society, nominated the bridge for inclusion on the list. ”

Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Residents rally to save bridges; Maine urged to help N.H. seek federal funds
Deborah McDermott, Portsmouth Herald
The Herald covers the John Paul Jones Park Rally.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Supporters rally for Memorial Bridge
Geoff Cunningham Jr., Foster’s Daily Democrat
Foster’s covers the John Paul Jones Park Rally.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Group lists Memorial Bridge as endangered
David Choate, Portsmouth Herald
Filed at 8:46 a.m.: The National Trust for Historic Preservation lists Memorial Bridge among America’s 11 Most Endangered Historical Places.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Group lists Memorial Bridge as endangered
Deborah McDermott, Portsmouth Herald
Filed at 6:00 a.m.: The National Trust for Historic Preservation lists Memorial Bridge among America’s 11 Most Endangered Historical Places.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Memorial Bridge to be placed among the ‘endangered’
Charles McMahon, Foster’s Daily Democrat
Foster’s beats the Herald to the story—The National Trust for Historic Preservation lists Memorial Bridge among America’s 11 Most Endangered Historical Places.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Bridges bring out public’s passion; Replacing Memorial called a ‘foolish venture’
Deborah McDermott and Adam Leech, Portsmouth Herald
Both the Portsmouth and Kittery meetings conducted by the Maine-NH Connection Study are covered. The total number in attendance is given as “[a]bout 100.” Our count made it at least 130 (75 Portsmouth/55 Kittery). This piece also fails to note that HNTB, the company hired to complete the study, will be eligible to bid on the job of building a new bridge, if that is the recommended outcome of the study — despite the fact that Deborah McDermott was seen to ask for an ID from the person whose question revealed that fact.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Portsmouth residents blast bridge study
Geoff Cunningham Jr., Foster’s Daily Democrat
This article covers the Portsmouth public meeting conducted by the Maine-NH Connection Study, but not the Kittery meeting. It estimates there were “50 or so” people in attendance. By our count there were at least 75. It fails to note the telling fact that HNTB, the company hired to complete the study, will be eligible to bid on the job of building a new bridge, if that is the recommended outcome of the study.

Monday, April 27, 2009
Preservation Group Lists Most Endangered Places
Robin Pogrebin, New York Times
The Times breaks the National Trust for Historic Preservation‘s 3:00 a.m. news embargo by three or four hours, and gets away with it. Memorial Bridge is on the Trust’s “America’s 11 Most Endangered Places list!

Sunday, April 26, 2009
Groups unite to save Memorial, Sarah Long bridges
Deborah McDermott, Portsmouth Herald
“What began as a small knot of people just a few weeks ago has mushroomed into a cadre of business, municipal, veteran and cycling groups united to keep Memorial Bridge and its sister Sarah Long Bridge opened for years to come. And they say they will be out in force for two events on Monday and Tuesday of this week: April 27 at the Kittery Trading Post and Portsmouth High School for public hearings on a two-state study of the bridges; and April 28 for a rally at John Paul Jones Park in Kittery.” This piece entirely overlooks the central role played by Seacoast Local in the Save Our Bridges! effort.

Saturday, April 25, 2009
Portsmouth bridge woes up close: Signs of wear and tear on 86-year-old structure obvious
Geoff Cunningham Jr., Foster’s Daily Democrat
A summing up of the state of play going into Monday’s public meetings, and Tuesday’s Rally. The cost of operating the bridges gets discussed.

Friday, April 24, 2009
Rally For the Bridges
Karen Marzloff The Wire
“It’s not by accident that Portsmouth and Kittery are two healthy, vibrant towns in the midst of a troubled economy. It’s a choice. People who live and work nearby choose to do business locally and participate in community life, and they rely on the bridges to make those connections.”

Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Short-term repairs are also needed for bridges
Letter to the Editor, Ben Porter, Portsmouth Herald
“Mr. Trefethen is absolutely right about the importance of the deep water harbor to the economy of the Seacoast. But his characterization of the Memorial Bridge’s limitations and economic importance are misstated … The Maine-N.H. Connections Study is a part of the solution. It is looking at the overall transportation issues and solutions for the future. This study will get input from the entire Seacoast community. But it is just a part of the solution. It focuses on the long term. In the short term, we also need Maine and New Hampshire to obtain funding for critical repairs to the Memorial and Sarah Mildred Long Bridges. They each provide real value to both Kittery and Portsmouth.” [Fifth letter down.]

Saturday, April 11, 2009
Nixing Memorial Bridge could have big benefits
Letter to the Editor, Melvin D. “Sandy” Trefethen, Portsmouth Herald
“The key natural resource of Portsmouth is a deep water harbor that does not freeze. Unfortunately, the use of the state of New Hampshire port is limited due to the constraints created by the design of the Memorial Bridge.” [Sixth letter down on page. Note Ben Porter's refutations of this letter, in the next item up, dated April 15.]

Thursday, April 9, 2009
Rally planned in bid to save Memorial, Sarah Long bridges
Deborah McDermott, Portsmouth Herald
“A group called Save Our Bridges will hold a rally Tuesday, April 28, in town to garner support for efforts to save the Memorial and Sarah Mildred Long bridges.”

Sunday, April 5, 2009
Maine needs to commit to two-state bridges approach
Editorial, Portsmouth Herald
“The state of Maine is missing a significant opportunity if it fails to partner with New Hampshire in submitting a proposal to rehabilitate the Memorial and Sarah Long bridges using federal stimulus money.”

Sunday, April 5, 2009
$1.4M study for Kittery-Portsmouth bridges
Deborah McDermott, Portsmouth Herald
“The national engineering firm HNTB has been hired by the Maine and New Hampshire departments of transportation to undertake a $1.4 million study on the long-term viability of the Memorial and Sarah Mildred Long bridges. At the same time, Kittery, Maine, officials continue to ramp up efforts to persuade the Maine DOT to back a two-state, $150 million application for competitive federal stimulus funds. Most recently, officials consulted a political veteran who has worked for former Maine Sens. Edmund Muskie and George Mitchell and for Gov. John Baldacci during his tenure as a U.S. congressman.”

Friday, April 3, 2009
Study to determine the fate of fates of Memorial and Sarah Long bridges
Geoff Cunningham, Jr.Foster’s Daily Democrat
“New Hampshire and Maine transportation officials have officially launched a connections study that will determine the fates of Memorial Bridge and the Sarah Mildred Long Bridge by June of 2010.”

Wednesday, April 1, 2009
Rt. 101 project to begin highway stimulus work
Richard Fabrizio, Portsmouth Herald
“EXETER, NH—A stretch of highway from Exeter to Epping stands to be the first highway project paid for by federal stimulus dollars. The state Executive Council is expected to approve the $7.8 million pavement improvement project on Route 101 at its meeting today.”

Thursday,March 26, 2009
Local leaders blast Maine DOT over Portsmouth-Kittery bridges
Deborah McDermott, Portsmouth Herald
“KITTERY, Maine — Town officials and state representatives from the southernmost Maine municipality are putting on a “full court press” to get the state and Maine congressional delegation behind a plan to get the Memorial and Sarah Mildred Long bridges fixed using federal stimulus money. But they are feeling frustrated by what they feel is a lack of concern and say they are being ignored, particularly by the Maine Department of Transportation and its commissioner, David Cole.”

Thursday,March 12, 2009
Maine, N.H. seek $150M stimulus cash for bridges, railway, pier
Adam Leech, Portsmouth Herald
“New Hampshire and Maine are teaming up to apply for more than $150 million in project funding, including upgrades to the Memorial Bridge and Sarah Mildred Long Bridge.”

Thursday, February 2, 2009
Neither state puts fix for bridges on stimulus list;
Not doing so could help connector project indirectly

Geoff Cunningham, Jr.Foster’s Daily Democrat
“Building a new bridge between Portsmouth and Kittery, Maine, or upgrading the existing ones aren’t on either state’s list for federal stimulus money, and that could actually work for the project. Officials say that using federal funds for other projects could free up monies in New Hampshire and Maine budgets for the connector bridges.”

Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Memorial Bridge survey online
Dave Choate and Susan Morse, Portsmouth Herald
[Includes link to survey.]

Saturday, January 17, 2009
Survey’s focus: Memorial Bridge
Susan Morse, Portsmouth Herald
“Kittery resident and University of New Hampshire professor Ben Porter is seeking opinions from local residents about the Memorial Bridge’s fate.”

Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Selectmen support saving Memorial Bridge; Historic span may be torn down
Susan Morse, Portsmouth Herald

Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Concerted effort to save Memorial Bridge; York joins Port City in asking help from historic preservation trust
Susan Morse, Portsmouth Herald
“[York] Selectmen on Monday unanimously threw their support behind efforts on both sides of the Piscataqua River to save the Memorial Bridge. York joins the towns of Kittery, Maine, and Portsmouth; the Portsmouth Historical Society; legislators in New Hampshire and Maine; and others in supporting the bridge’s designation as one of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The span on Route 1 links New Hampshire and Maine, between Portsmouth and Kittery.”
[Possibly a duplicate of the above.]

Wednesday, January 7, 2009
Portsmouth-Kittery bridge study better be worth $2 million
Editorial, Portsmouth Herald
“The study, formally reported on Jan. 2, is expected to take 16 months. Its cost is going to bring the total expenditures on studies of Memorial Bridge to $7.7 million since 2000. The fact a proposal to rehab Memorial Bridge in 2000 was going to cost in the neighborhood of $10 million does raise eyebrows over spending more money on studies. Furthermore, the fact Memorial Bridge is the top span on the state’s red list of bridges in need of repair also raises concerns about spending 16 more months on a study before a project is established and sent out to bid.”

Monday, January 5, 2009
Search on for firm to study bridge needs between Portsmouth, Kittery
Geoff Cunningham, Jr., Foster’s Daily Democrat
“State transportation leaders in Maine and New Hampshire are looking for firms interested in taking on a project to study transportation issues and bridge needs between Portsmouth and Kittery, Maine.”

Tuesday, December 31, 2008
Joined, divided by a bridge; N.H., Maine residents debate whether to save historic span
Brian MacQuarrie, Boston Globe
“The Memorial Bridge that links Portsmouth and Kittery, Maine, needs serious care. But when a rehabilitation bid came in $15 million over budget, the seeds of battle were sown between those who love the rickety bridge and planners who argue the price of history has limits. Now, transportation officials from New Hampshire and Maine have agreed to consider a drastic step: demolishing the bridge, one of three spans here between the two states.”

Wedesday, December 24, 2008
Portsmouth’s 1923 Memorial Bridge in Danger
James L. Garvin, New Hampshire State Architectural Historian
“Memorial Bridge was the first major vertical lift bridge in the eastern United States. At its dedication in 1923, it had the longest lift span in the country (297 feet), making it the direct prototype for later vertical lift bridges with clear spans of over 300 feet. Its lift towers, extending 201 feet above mean high water, were among the highest in the nation, and its 150-foot vertical clearance above mean high water, achieved through a 129-foot maximum lift, was also one of the highest. Today, Memorial Bridge is one of the oldest operational lift bridges in the United States. It retains physical integrity, with alterations having been limited largely to decks, railings, and mechanical systems. Because of its engineering significance as well as its role as a key transportation link on U.S. Route I (designated 1925-6), Memorial Bridge was determined to be eligible for the National Register of Historic Places as the ‘National’ level of significance in 2006.”

Tuesday, December 23, 2008
A recurring tale of three bridges
Editorial, Foster’s Daily Democrat
“Two of the three bridges that span the Piscataqua River between Portsmouth and Kittery, Maine, ought to be classified maritime and economic hazards … the NHDOT cannot do it alone. It needs a willing and cooperative partner.”

Sunday, December 21, 2008
Southern Maine gathering list for federal stimulus package
Dave Choate, Portsmouth Herald
“Kittery is one of about 15 towns supplying projects for a regional list, with officials hopeful that at least some of their close-to-ready infrastructure projects can receive a boost from a federal stimulus package … In Kittery, Town Manager Jon Carter has a list of 11 projects that fall into that category, ranging from help for the rehabilitation of the Memorial Bridge … ”

Friday, December 19, 2008
Councilor: Bridge study could lead to new Portsmouth/Kittery span
Geoff Cunningham, Jr., Foster’s Daily Democrat
“The Executive Council has approved a $2 million joint proposal between New Hampshire and Maine that some believe has the states headed toward constructing a new bridge between Portsmouth and Kittery, Maine.”

Wednesday, December 17, 2008
State officials weigh two-state, $2m bridges study
Geoff Cunningham, Jr., Foster’s Daily Democrat
“A proposed $2 million project to study the bridges connecting Portsmouth and Kittery is slated to be taken up by Gov. John Lynch and the Executive Council at their meeting Thursday … A “connection study” to be jointly funded by the New Hampshire and Maine transportation departments is expected to explore every option for the deteriorating Sarah Mildred Long Bridge and Memorial Bridge, including their replacement by either a new high-level fixed span bridge or the building of a new movable span structure.”

Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Council supports historian’s effort to grant Memorial Bridge endangered status
Charles McMahon, Foster’s Daily Democrat
“Richard Candee’s quest to get Memorial Bridge on the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s “11 Most Endangered Historic Places List” received unanimous support from City Council Monday night.”

Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Bridging past and future
Hannah Lally, The Wire
“The fate of the Memorial Bridge will not be decided until the summer of 2010, if all goes according to plan and Gov. John Lynch and the Executive Council approve funding for a $2 million comprehensive transportation study. Since the state’s estimate for the rehabilitation project fell $15 million short, officials are now interested in investigating all of their options. The study will review transportation needs, costs, uses and impacts. While the ultimate decision will be made by the state’s DOT, Mark Richardson, administrator of New Hampshire’s bridge design bureau, assures that the ‘decision is not going to be made in a vacuum.’”

Tuesday, December 16, 2008
City Council backs preserving Memorial Bridge
Adam Leech, Portsmouth Herald
“The City Council unanimously supported the efforts of preservation groups to place the Memorial Bridge on the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s ‘America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places’ … The trust boasts that, since 1988, more than 200 sites have been identified and only six have been destroyed.”

Thursday, December 11, 2008
Kittery town manager compiles list of projects that may be eligible for federal fund
Josh Rosenson, Foster’s Daily Democrat
“[Kittery] Town Manager Jon Carter compiled a ‘shopping list’ of projects which may be eligible to receive financial support from the federal government … rehabilitation of the Memorial Bridge … ”

Thursday, December 11, 2008
Appeal for historic designation made for Memorial Bridge
Adam Leech, Portsmouth Herald
“While the states of Maine and New Hampshire consider the future of the two lift bridges that connect Kittery and Portsmouth, several preservation groups seek to throw a wrench into any proposals to replace them with one high-level bridge. Richard Candee, vice president of the Portsmouth Historical Society, has asked the National Trust for Historic Preservation to include the Memorial Bridge in its annual ‘America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places.’ The 2009 list will be announced in the spring.”

Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Endangered historic place status sought for Memorial Bridge
Charles McMahon, Foster’s Daily Democrat
“The [Portsmouth] Historical Society is looking to get Memorial Bridge named as one of the nation’s most endangered historic places in an attempt to draw national attention, and possibly federal funding.”

Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Why Save Endangered Memorial Bridge?
J. Dennis Robinson, SeacoastNH.com
“All bridges are not created equal. Some are, well, cooler than others. I’ve always had a thing for the 1923 Memorial Bridge, the only span that allows us to walk or bike above the swirling dark Piscataqua that rushes between Portsmouth, NH and Kittery, ME.”

Thursday, December 4, 2008
Second high-level bridge for Portsmouth-Kittery? Option would see two lift spans dismantled
Adam Leech, Portsmouth Herald
“Removing both lift bridges between Portsmouth and Kittery, Maine, and replacing them with a new high-level bridge is one of the options the transportation departments in both states want explored in a $2 million proposed corridor study.”

Thursday, December 4, 2008
Transportation officials discuss Memorial, Sarah Long bridge options
Adam Leech, Portsmouth Herald
“Removing both lift bridges between Portsmouth and Kittery, Maine, and replacing it with a new high level bridge is one of the options the transportation departments in Maine and New Hampshire want explored in a $2 million proposed corridor study.”

Thursday, December 4, 2008
Maine, N.H. to study status of local bridges linking states
Geoff Cunningham, Jr., Foster’s Daily Democrat
“Top transportation officials from New Hampshire and Maine have agreed to request $2 million in funding to conduct a comprehensive study of the transportation needs between Portsmouth and Kittery … A plan to upgrade Memorial Bridge was shelved in November when Maine leaders rejected a scaled-down plan to fix the bridge, but leaders from both state’s went back to the table on Tuesday and agreed on reviewing the status of the bridges connecting the communities.”

Friday, November 21, 2008
Memorial Bridge meeting planned
Dave Choate, Portsmouth Herald
“A meeting between Maine and New Hampshire on the fate of the Memorial Bridge could be coming soon.”

Friday, November 21, 2008
A Tale of Three Bridges
The New Hampshire Gazette
“Until three years ago it looked fairly certain that the U.S. Congress was going to allocate almost $452 million to build two bridges in Alaska. The Gravina Island bridge would be longer than the Golden Gate, taller than the Brooklyn Bridge, and connect the town of Ketchikan (pop. 7,368) and Gravina Island (pop. 50). The Knik Arm Bridge, two miles long, would shorten the commute between Wasilla and Anchorage by one hour.”

Thursday, November 20, 2008
Dennett bridge to cost $2M-plus
Dave Choate, Portsmouth Herald
“A preliminary public meeting on the replacement of the Dennett Street Overpass Bridge received residents’ approval … the project could begin in late 2009 or 2010 unless a construction schedule was developed for the Memorial Bridge which would make re-routing traffic too difficult.”

Saturday, November 15, 2008
Maine, N.H. DOTs to discuss bridge options
Geoff Cunningham, Jr., Foster’s Daily Democrat
“The shelving of a plan to upgrade Memorial Bridge has New Hampshire transportation officials working with Maine leaders to begin looking at all options, including whether Kittery and Portsmouth need two high-cost lift bridges to connect the communities.”

Thursday, November 13, 2008
Maine balks at the cost of bridge repair
Tom Long, Boston Globe
“It looks like the rehabilitation of the Memorial Bridge in Portsmouth has fallen victim to the downturn in the economy after the state of Maine objected to funding half the cost of repairing the 86-year-old structure. ‘It’s a very expensive fix for a very old bridge and they balked at the price tag,” said Bill Boynton, a spokesman for the New Hampshire Department of Transportation.’”

Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Maine, N.H. disagree on Memorial Bridge plans
Steve Bodnar, York Weekly
“The Maine Department of Transportation said it considers a newly-proposed rehabilitation project for the Memorial Bridge not in Maine’s best interest, but said the plan isn’t entirely off the table … ‘Our concern is that New Hampshire (DOT) suggested the option of a reduced scope,’ said [Maine DOT Commissioner David] Cole. ‘The idea was to take what we have and do what we can, but after that another $30-40 million would be needed in the next three to five years to do other work on the bridge. We’re talking about a rehab project in the $80 (million) to $85 million range.’ … Cole said the Maine DOT currently can’t support accepting the bid because data about repair work versus costs raised questions about whether it would be more cost-effective to rehabilitate the entire bridge, in effect producing a new structure that could have a 100-year lifespan.”

Monday, November 10, 2008
Portsmouth City Council to mull $29m in bonds for capital improvements
Charles McMahon, Foster’s Daily Democrat
“The city will consider bonding nearly $29 million for three major capital improvements at tonight’s City Council meeting at City Hall … $2.2 million for State Street utilities upgrades … State Street utilities upgrades are expected to be coordinated with the yet-to-be-finalized Memorial Bridge rehabilitation project.”

Monday, November 10, 2008
City manager pushes for State St. project; Bohenko: Funds available now
Shir Haberman, Portsmouth Herald
“At tonight’s City Council meeting, City Manager John Bohenko will push for authorization to implement the $2.2 million State Street Utilities Upgrade Project … despite recent news that the reconstruction — or replacement — of the Memorial Bridge at the foot of State Street, will be delayed.”

Sunday, November 9, 2008
Don’t delay on Memorial Bridge rehab
Editorial, Portsmouth Herald
“A story in the Portsmouth Herald on April 9, 2000, reported the cost for a full rehabilitation of the Memorial Bridge to be $10 million. However, the estimate had the caveat that cost “could be considerably higher come 2010″ as the project was scheduled in New Hampshire’s 10-year transportation plan nearly a decade ago … Maine … should come quickly to the table … because whether the decision is a full rehabilitation, partial plan or replacement of Memorial Bridge, the time to act is now.”

Saturday, November 8, 2008
Memorial Bridge fix divides Maine, N.H. officials
Dave Bodnar, Portsmouth Herald
“The Maine Department of Transportation said it considers a newly-proposed rehabilitation project for the Memorial Bridge not in Maine’s best interest, but that the plan isn’t entirely off the table … Maine DOT Commissioner David Cole said the new circumstances don’t mean discussions with the N.H. DOT have ceased concerning the new rehabilitation plan or any other proposals.”

Friday, November 7, 2008
High price tag stalls Memorial Bridge plan
Dave Choate, Portsmouth Herald
“With project estimates several million dollars over budget, and the Maine and New Hampshire departments of transportation at without an agreement over how to proceed, the Memorial Bridge rehabilitation project has come to a standstill.”

Friday, November 7, 2008
Can’t bridge the gap; Maine rejects N.H. bids for major repairs to the ailing structure connecting the two states
Geoff Cunningham, Jr., Foster’s Daily Democrat
“New Hampshire highway officials dropped a “bombshell” on residents Thursday when they announced their Maine counterpart has rejected plans to make significant improvements to Memorial Bridge, described as the top “red-listed” bridge in the Granite State.”

Thursday, November 6, 2008
NH Dept. of Transportation Public Briefing Document
“Purpose of the Meeting: 1) Update Officials and General Public on the Bids for the rehabilitation … 2) Describe the options NHDOT and Maine DOT considered and which option was preferred by each State. 3) Explain what the Next Steps will be.”

Thursday, November 6, 2008
Kittery Town Manager’s Report on Nov. 6, 2008 Meeting in Portsmouth
“We need to stay on top of this issue. Commissioner Campbell has instructed his staff to commence meetings with area groups to discuss alternatives and solutions to the Memorial Bridge problem. It is his hope and desire to have something to bid out within 12 months.”

Thursday, November 6, 2008
ME DOT Comm’r Cole’s Letter to NH DOT Comm’r Campbell
“(MaineDOT) has determined that it is not in Maine’s best interest to move forward with the rehabilitation project … ”

Thursday, November 6, 2008
Memorial Bridge Meeting in Portsmouth
Matt Kanner, The Wire
“Memorial Bridge, which stretches across the Piscataqua River from Portsmouth to Kittery, Maine, is in dire need of significant repairs, but bids for a contract to conduct the work came in millions of dollars higher than expected. Officials from the N.H. Department of Transportation will collect feedback on how to proceed during a meeting at Portsmouth City Hall on Thursday, Nov. 6 at 7 p.m.”
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Memorial Bridge public session on tap
Dave Choate, Portsmouth Herald
“Weeks after finding out that two bids on a planned Memorial Bridge overhaul came in at more than $15 million over budget, the state’s transportation department will meet with residents to discuss how the project will go forward.”

Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Stores feel road work pinch; Route 1, Sarah Long bridge projects take toll on local sales
Dave Choate, Portsmouth Herald
“A pair of construction projects are proving a necessary evil for the town’s businesses and drivers alike. Kittery and Portsmouth, N.H., residents are dealing with detours and slow traffic thanks to a construction project on Route 1 in town and another that has shut down the Sarah Mildred Long bridge for 19 days. After Tuesday’s rain, areas of Route 1 were reduced to mud, while the drawbridge of the Sarah Mildred Long remained high in the air.”

Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Input sought on Memorial Bridge work
Adam Leech, Portsmouth Herald
“The state Department of Transportation is seeking public input on how to proceed with the project to replace Memorial Bridge after the lowest bid came in $15 million higher than budgeted.”

Monday, October 27, 2008
Portsmouth bridges topic of DOT public meeting
Press release, Portsmouth Herald
“The New Hampshire Department of Transportation (NHDOT) announces a Public Informational Meeting has been scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 6, regarding the rehabilitation of the Memorial Bridge carrying U.S. Route 1 over the Piscataqua River between Portsmouth and Kittery, Maine.”

Tuesday, October 21, 2008
How high can the Memorial Bridge go?
Editorial, Foster’s Daily Democrat
“The center portion of the Memorial Bridge is designed to go up and down. The cost of repairing the 86-year-old span only goes up … The horns of a dilemma are in place. Pay now or pay later.”

Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Public can comment on plan to fix Memorial Bridge
Charles McMahon, Foster’s Daily Democrat
“The public will have the opportunity to weigh in on the rehabilitation of the Memorial Bridge at a special informational meeting scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 6.”

Saturday, October 18, 2008
Bridge plans up in the air: Estimates $15m to $25m over budget
Charles McMahon, Foster’s Daily Democrat
“Cost estimates for the Memorial Bridge rehabilitation project originally budgeted at $44.5 million have vastly exceeded what state transportation officials expected and are now forcing them to rethink how to move forward with the project. The lowest of two bids for the project exceeded the amount budgeted by more than $15 million and could potentially close the lift span for 18 months.”

Friday, October 17, 2008
Portsmouth bridge project cost stuns NH officials
Associated Press, Foster’s Daily Democrat
” … New Hampshire’s project manager, Bob Landry, says officials in both states are weighing their options, which include accepting the low bid or delaying the project altogether. Historical covenants to preserve components of the structure are one aspect raising costs. But Gov. John Lynch says he would support losing the ambiance getting the bridge fixed.”

Friday, October 17, 2008
Memorial Bridge could close 18 months
Adam Leech, Portsmouth Herald
“Dumbfounded state transportation officials are discussing how best to move forward with the Memorial Bridge replacement project after the two bids it received exceeded the amount budgeted by more than $15 million … The bids would have been even higher had the state not ditched the closure schedule it originally proposed … The new schedule would close the bridge to all traffic from April 2009 to October 2010 — a far cry from the previous schedule that was staggered to avoid negatively impacting businesses and allow partial travel over the major bridge.” [Note: We're not sure if there is additional information beyond what's in the above item.—The Ed.

Thursday, October 16, 2008
Bridge bids over budget; 18-month closure considered
Adam Leech, Portsmouth Herald
"Dumbfounded state transportation officials are discussing how best to move forward with the Memorial Bridge replacement project after the two bids it received exceeded the amount budgeted by more than $15 million … The bids would have been even higher had the state not ditched the closure schedule it originally proposed … The new schedule would close the bridge to all traffic from April 2009 to October 2010 — a far cry from the previous schedule that was staggered to avoid negatively impacting businesses and allow partial travel over the major bridge."

Wednesday, October 8, 2008
Portsmouth firefighters prepare for bridge work
Geoff Cunningham, Jr., Foster's Daily Democrat
"Portsmouth Firefighter Brian Wade found himself walking up and down the four-story walls of the High-Hanover parking garage Friday as part of training designed to prepare emergency responders for any problems during upcoming bridge work."

Thursday, September 11, 2008
State rep: bridges and roads crisis averted
Adam Leech, Portsmouth Herald
"It took a nighttime session of Congress to avert what a state representative says would have been a crisis situation for New Hampshire bridges and roads — including delays in the Memorial Bridge replacement and the I-93 reconstruction project. The Senate voted Wednesday night to shift $8 billion into the highway trust fund … "

Monday, September 8, 2008
Gregg's opposition to highway funding could cost NH 1,800 jobs
Shir Haberman, Portsmouth Herald
"A legislative maneuver by New Hampshire Sen. Judd Gregg could cost the state $52 million in federal highway funds and more than 1,800 jobs. It could also delay important projects, including the repairs to the Memorial Bridge in Portsmouth, said state Department of Transportation spokesman Bill Boynton."

Monday, August 25, 2008
Local runners honor fallen; Relay held in memory of N.H. troops
Matthew Tetrault, Portsmouth Herald
"Inspired by a group running across the country in honor of soldiers killed in action, 30 Seacoast residents held their own memorial run on Sunday … New Hampshire's Run for the Fallen began on the Memorial Bridge in Kittery, Maine, with runners running 22 miles in honor of the 22 New Hampshire service members the organizer said were killed in action."

Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Federal funding for Memorial Bridge at risk
Adam D. Krauss, Foster's Daily Democrat
"Financing the Memorial Bridge improvements … is under threat unless efforts to persuade U.S. Sen. Judd Gregg and others to support a $8 billion transfer to the federal highway fund are successful, state officials say."

Thursday, July 10, 2008
Highway plan reflects reality
Editorial, Foster's Daily Democrat
"The big projects in the Seacoast were retained because they deserved to survive and the history of transportation in the region has made them high priority items. They are big-ticket items, but their time has come."

Wednesday, July 2, 2008
Potholes pock state plan for transportation
Editorial, Portsmouth Herald
"[T]he peculiar mechanisms of federal highway funding that may put Congress in the situation of cutting such the budget for money to the states — despite the almost unprecedented and desperate need across the country for bridge and road repair.”

Thursday, June 26, 2008
DOT commissioner: State transportation plan at risk without federal action
Shir Haberman, Portsmouth Herald
“[T]he state’s new Department of Transportation commissioner [told] Greater Portsmouth Chamber of Commerce members that unless Congress reauthorizes the Federal Highway Act, there could be a $750,000 shortfall in the state’s plan even before it takes effect.”

Thursday, June 26, 2008
Bridges win: Seacoast gets $400m in state highway money
Adam D. Krauss, Foster’s Daily Democrat
“The Department of Transportation’s new 10-year improvement plan features about $400 million in highway projects for the Seacoast, including fixes to Portsmouth’s Memorial Bridge … ”

Monday, June 16, 2008
FEMA to inspect city’s underwater security system
Shir Haberman, Portsmouth Herald
“Federal Emergency Management Agency officials will be visiting the Market Square Marine Terminal in late September to determine if the underwater surveillance system currently being installed there is working properly … Sonar detectors are being placed on either side of the Sarah Long Bridge and in other locations to scan near the Interstate 95 bridge and Memorial Bridge.”

Wednesday, June 4, 2008
NH Legislature approves highway plan
Associated Press, Portsmouth Herald
New Hampshire lawmakers have passed a 10-year, $2.3 billion highway plan that cuts the current plan almost in half. The bill … cuts more than $2 billion in projects … The plan also endorsed a major shift from new construction to projects to preserve the current system and fix troubled bridges.”

Friday, May 30, 2008
$52M bridge project poised for 2009 start, Traffic will be rerouted to I-95 span
Dave Choate, Portsmouth Herald
“Project representatives showed off a $52.2 million Memorial Bridge plan Thursday night that met virtually no resistance from the public.”

Thursday, May 29, 2008
Bridge project looms; State wants feedback on planned long-term closures
Adam Leech, Portsmouth Herald
“A meeting tonight will include a presentation on the project and traffic control options for long-term closures planned in 2009 and 2010.”

Wednesday, May 28, 2008
NHDOT seeks public input on Memorial Bridge closure
Adam Leech, Portsmouth Herald
“The Memorial Bridge will be closed for extended periods of time over the next two years and the Department of Transportation is seeking feedback from the public on the project.”

Wednesday, May 7, 2008
DOT to hold public forum to discuss Memorial Bridge rehab
Charles McMahon, Foster’s Daily Democrat
“The state Department of Transportation will hold a public informational meeting on May 29 to discuss the update on the design and construction traffic control options for the rehabilitation of Memorial Bridge.”

Saturday, April 26, 2008
Memorial Bridge set to reopen today in Portsmouth
Charles McMahon, Foster’s Daily Democrat
“According to Gene Sawyer, Project Engineer for the New Hampshire Department of Transportation, repairs to the 85-year-old lift bridge went smoothly and officials anticipated opening sometime between Friday night and early this morning.”

Friday, April 18, 2008
Memorial Bridge to close for 5 days starting Monday
Charles McMahon, Foster’s Daily Democrat
“Starting Monday the Memorial Bridge will be closed for five days for much needed repair work forcing commuters to seek alternate routes across the Piscataqua River.”

Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Work will close Portsmouth bridge for a week
no byline, Foster’s Daily Democrat
“Some commuters between Maine and New Hampshire will have to find a new route next week as the state shuts down the Memorial Bridge for repairs.”

April 14, 2008
Repairs to close Memorial span; Bridge out of commission for a week
Adam Leech, Portsmouth Herald
“Beginning next Monday, commuters who typically use Memorial Bridge will need to find a new route to work while the 85-year-old bridge is closed for repairs.”

Friday, March 21, 2008
Highway plan will benefit the Seacoast
Editorial, Foster’s Daily Democrat
“The updated 10-year highway program has just one more hurdle to get over. The House of Representatives sent a $2.3 billion plan to the Senate Wednesday — cutting $2 billion in projects. Surviving the cut were repairs to the Memorial Bridge in Portsmouth and the widening of the Spaulding Turnpike.”

March 19, 2008
N.H. House approves 10-year highway plan
Associated Press, Portsmouth Herald
“The House is sending the Senate a 10-year, 2.3 billion dollar New Hampshire highway plan that cuts the current plan almost in half, but is built on shaky revenue forecasts … The plan endorses a major shift from new construction to projects to preserve the current system and fix troubled bridges … It would replace or fix 89 red-list bridges over 10 years … repair the Memorial Bridge in Portsmouth and widen the Spaulding Turnpike.”

March 17, 2008
Memorial Bridge closure in April
no byline, Portsmouth Herald
“To perform replacement of counterweight ropes, the lift bridge will be closed to vehicle and marine traffic from 7 a.m. on Monday, April 21, to 7 a.m. on Saturday, April 26.”

Monday, March 17, 2008
Expect April closure of Memorial Bridge
Charles McMahon, Foster’s Daily Democrat
“The Memorial Bridge will be closed for five days in April for much needed repair work … the bridge requires immediate replacement of three cables connected to the counterweight, which will result in the temporary closing. State officials have also slated at least two other closures within the next few years. The $51 million, bridge-replacement project aims to completely correct all of the maintenance issues involved in the bridge … ”

Saturday, February 2, 2008
Bridge closure slated for April in Portsmouth
Charles McMahon, Foster’s Daily Democrat
“The Memorial Bridge will be closed for five days in April for much needed repair work. State officials have also slated at least two other closures within the next few years.”

January 22, 2008
Fix bridge and sink the politics
Editorial, Portsmouth Herald
“It’s about time. That is our take on word from Concord that $1.2 million in repairs will begin later this year on the Sarah Mildred Long Bridge … ”

Saturday, January 19, 2008
GOP is wrong on the Long bridge plan
Editorial, Foster’s Daily Democrat
“Thursday, Senate Republicans tried unsuccessfully to block a bill that appropriates funds for repairs to the Long bridge … [playing] … election-year politics with a vital Seacoast transportation link and a bridge that is an important part of the Seacoast economy.”

Friday, January 18, 2008
Little Bay Bridges make it; Lynch OKs the turnpike and adds the bridges to it
Editorial, Foster’s Daily Democrat
“The Ten Year Highway Program Lynch submitted … combines the realities of what the state can afford with needs that have too long been ignored. [It] includes forging ahead with the widening of the Spaulding Turnpike in Rochester — and the repair of some of its bridges — as well as the widening of the Little Bay Bridges and its approaches in Newington. It also includes the long-awaited repair of Memorial Bridge … ”

Friday, January 18, 2008
Help is on the way: Senate bill would transfer care of Sarah Mildred Long bridge to state
Charles McMahon, Foster’s Daily Democrat
“The State Senate passed a bill Thursday allowing for immediate repair for the 70 year old bridge that links Portsmouth and Kittery, Maine.”

January 17, 2008
Senate passes bill to allow for immediate Portsmouth-Kittery bridge repair
“By Press Release,” Portsmouth Herald
“In an effort to ensure a critical bridge can continue to function, the Senate voted today to transfer the Portsmouth-Kittery Bridge to the state Department of Transportation to allow for immediate repairs … the Sarah Mildred Long Bridge, has been in the care of the Maine-New Hampshire Interstate Bridge Authority. The authority’s decision about 30 years ago to stop collecting tolls when the I-95 bridge opened left it with a steadily declining source of revenue to pay for repairs, and over time, the bridge was allowed to deteriorate.”

Thursday, January 17, 2008
Little Bay Bridges stay in Lynch’s leaner work plan
Leslie Modica, Portsmouth Herald
“Gov. John Lynch submitted his slimmed-down version of the 10-year highway plan to lawmakers Tuesday … Several long-standing problem areas in the Seacoast were addressed in the plan, including two portions of the Little Bay Bridges project, widening of the Spaulding Turnpike near the Rochester Tolls and repair of the Memorial Bridge in Portsmouth.”

January 16, 2008
Governor submits 10-year highway plan
no byline, Portsmouth Herald
“Gov. John Lynch has submitted his recommendations for highway construction projects in New Hampshire over the next decade to the Legislature for action. The plan puts a high priority on fixing so-called “red listed” bridges which have been identified as those most in need of repairs. Lynch said the state will move ahead with work on 89 red-listed bridges, work on sections of Interstate 93 that have the greatest congestion problems, work on the Memorial Bridge in Portsmouth … ”

November 18, 2007
Bridging the Gap
Chris Dornin, Portsmouth Herald
“The Maine/N.H. Interstate Bridge Authority that takes care of the Sarah Mildred Long Bridge across the Piscataqua River is running out of money … The Sarah Long will be even more crucial to Seacoast residents when the Memorial Bridge shuts down for three years of repairs at an estimated cost of $44.5 million, half from each state.” [3rd story on page.]

November 16, 2007
Local road projects spared; $1.5B cut from N.H. budget
Peter Sutters, Portsmouth Herald
“The Seacoast was spared when $1.5 billion was cut from New Hampshire’s 10-year highway construction plan and is even directly benefiting from the recent increase in toll fares … Other projects in the Seacoast which were not cut also moved up one year in scheduling, including the estimated $39.7 million Memorial Bridge rehabilitation project … ”

Thursday, September 27, 2007
Public willing to pay higher tolls, Portsmouth hearing finds
Michael Goot, Foster’s Daily Democrat
“Most who spoke generally supported raising tolls on the turnpikes to help fund vital infrastructure projects at a time when state coffers are low.”

Monday, August 20, 2007
Obama, in Portsmouth, touts infrastructure, bipartisanship
Michael Goot, Foster’s Daily Democrat
“Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama said Sunday he is the only candidate that can bring the parties together to move the country forward … [s]peaking before an invitation-only crowd of 100 supporters on a deck at One Harbour Place … ”
Photo caption: “Presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill, looks at the Memorial Bridge as he takes questions on America’s infrastructure during a campaign stop at One Harbor Place in Portsmouth Sunday afternoon.”

Friday, August 3, 2007
N.H., Maine DOT officials: ‘Red list’ bridges are safe for travel
Robert M. Cook, Foster’s Daily Democrat
“Transportation officials in New Hampshire and Maine reassured residents Thursday their bridges are safe — including those red-listed as being structurally deficient.”

Thursday, August 2, 2007
Memorial bridge is top priority for repairs
Karen Dandurant, Portsmouth Herald
“State officials say all the seacoast bridges are safe to travel but the Memorial bridge is the number one ‘red list’ bridge.”

Thursday, August 2, 2007
N.H. officials say bridges are safe
Norma Love, Associated Press
“Drivers should not be afraid to cross New Hampshire’s nearly 4,000 bridges — 500 of them flagged due to safety concerns — because of a bridge collapse in Minneapolis, Transportation Commissioner Charles O’Leary said Thursday.”

Wednesday, May 30, 2007
Portsmouth hearing describes a continuous bike path from Maine to Fla.
Michael Goot, Foster’s Daily Democrat
“Imagine a continuous pathway where people could have the ability to walk or bicycle along the coast between Maine and Florida.”

April 19, 2007
Seacoast bridges demand special review
Tom Long, Boston Globe
“Bridges over salt water that lift to allow boat traffic, such as Memorial Bridge (above) in Portsmouth, offer special challenges for upkeep, says state bridge inspector David E. Powelson.”

Monday, April 2, 2007
Portsmouth tricky for cruise ships
no byline, but credited “Information from Portsmouth Herald,” found on Foster’s Daily Democrat
“Even as the Pease Development Authority looks at upgrading harborfront property to cater to cruise ships, ferries or container shipping, the port director is skeptical.”

Thursday, March 22, 2007
Cruise ships could mean boost
Michael Goot, Foster’s Daily Democrat
“Downtown business owners are envisioning cruise ship passengers disembarking at the Port of New Hampshire and spending thousands of dollars at local shops and restaurants. The concept is not too farfetched … Peter W. Van Ness, general manager of Cruiseport Gloucester on Wednesday … spoke before the Downtown Business Association … ”

Tuesday, February 27, 2007
Cruise ships for Portsmouth said to be a ‘pie in the sky’ idea
Michael Goot, Foster’s Daily Democrat
“Those who work the waterfront don’t put much faith in replacing scrap metal and salt piles with cruise ships at the Port of New Hampshire. Dick Holt Jr. of the Portsmouth Pilots, which helps guide vessels into the harbor, said Monday he believes a lot of the recent discussions about attracting new businesses to the Market Street facility are ‘pie in the sky.’”

Thursday, September 14, 2006
Bridge closes for 2nd time in 2 days
Matt Kanner, Foster’s Daily Democrat
“A broken counterweight [on the traffic barrier gate, not the lift portion of the bridge] forced police to close the World War Memorial Bridge Thursday morning, the second such closure in as many days. The gate on the Portsmouth side of the bridge, which extends across the Piscataqua River to Badger Island in Kittery, Maine, failed to open around 8:40 a.m.”

Tuesday, June 20, 2006
Federal bill would fund repairs to Memorial Bridge
Mike Goot, Foster’s Daily Democrat
“Funds totaling $1.5 million for projects to rehabilitate the Memorial Bridge in Portsmouth and Route 1A Bridge in Hampton have been included in a transportation bill working its way through Congress. U.S. Rep. Jeb Bradley, R-N.H., on Monday announced in a press release that the bill includes $750,000 for both bridges.”

Saturday, June 17, 2006
N.H. Legislature acts to honor war veterans
Sen. Joseph D. Kenney, (Wakefield), Foster’s Daily Democrat
“HB1152 names the bridge over the Merrimack River between the towns of Canterbury and Boscawen on Hoyt Road as the New Hampshire Veterans’ Memorial Bridge … HB 1313 names the bridge which spans the Squamscott River between the towns of Newfields and Stratham, the United States Submarine Veterans of World War II Memorial Bridge …”

Saturday, April 22, 2006
Don’t repair the bridge, replace it
Letter to the Editor, Foster’s Daily Democrat
“Now is the time to start building a new bridge from Portsmouth to Kittery, not putting Band Aids on the present one.”

Monday, April 17, 2006
Maine lags on repairs to Memorial Bridge
Editorial, Foster’s Daily Democrat
“The repair and maintenance of the bridge connecting Portsmouth and Kittery, Maine, comes under a compact between the two states with each sharing 50 percent of costs. If one party fails to take part, delay occurs — either that or the other one has to pick up the slack.”

Friday, April 7, 2006
DOT favors 5-month bridge closure
Jason Gray, Foster’s Daily Democrat
“The Memorial Bridge would be shut down entirely for five months if the New Hampshire Department of Transportation goes about the structure’s rehabilitation the way it hopes to.”

Tuesday, April 4, 2006
N.H. says Maine stalling Memorial Bridge work
Colin Manning, Foster’s Daily Democrat
“‘[Maine] understand[s] the importance of the bridge, but to the overall state of Maine it’s not their No. 1 priority. If you live in Augusta, how much do you think about that issue?’ said New Hampshire Transportation Commission Carol Murray.”

Tuesday, March 14, 2006
Rehab plan for Kittery’s Memorial Bridge calls for five-month closure
Douglas P. Guarino, Foster’s Daily Democrat
“Taking its first official position on the plan to rehabilitate the Memorial Bridge Monday, the [Kittery] Town Council voted in favor of supporting one that would shut down the Route 1 crossing longer but reduce the total amount of time the project will impact traffic in the area.”

Sunday, February 5, 2006
Engineers: N.H. infrastructure needs work
Nate Pardue, Foster’s Daily Democrat
“The 85-year-old lift bridge is just one example of what New Hampshire civil engineers say is wrong with the state’s infrastructure.”

Thursday, January 19, 2006
What to do when Memorial Bridge is Under Repair
Roger Wood, NHPR
“Seacoast residents met with State Transportation officials earlier this week to decide what to do about the bridge that connects Portsmouth to Kittery, Maine. The Memorial Bridge is in need of major repair, but any large restoration project is likely to seriously disrupt the flow of traffic over the Piscatagqua [sic].”

Wednesday, January 18, 2006
Memorial Bridge to shut down to traffic during project
Erin Dolan, Foster’s Daily Democrat
“Whatever the final decisions regarding the Memorial Bridge rehabilitation project, the bridge will be closed to all traffic for at least two months.”

Wednesday, January 15, 2006
Historic bridge to get lift $31m project planned for 2009
Tom Long, Boston Globe
“A public meeting will be held at Portsmouth High School Tuesday at 7 p.m. to discuss how to proceed with a planned rehabilitation of the historic landmark.”

Wednesday, January 4, 2006
Input sought on repairing 80-year-old Maine-New Hampshire Memorial Bridge
Michael Goot, Foster’s Daily Democrat
“Much-needed repairs to the 80-year-old Memorial Bridge probably won’t come until 2009, but project planners are seeking public input to determine the preferred alternative for the improvements.”

Monday, December 5, 2005
Memorial Bridge repairs cannot wait any longer
Editorial, Portsmouth Herald
“In April 2000, this newspaper ran a story that began, ‘Memorial Bridge is falling down, falling down, falling down’ … Fast forward five years to this past week, when the N.H. Department of Transportation said a $31.5 million project that would rehabilitate Memorial Bridge and replace the adjacent Scott Avenue bridge had been delayed from 2007 to 2009. This follows a delay from 2005 to 2007.”

September 22, 2005
Bridge keeper’s job spans many talents; Patience, alertness, foresight crucial
Bridget Samburg, Boston Globe
“Joe De Rochemont is suspended about 150 feet in the air, perched at the controls in the operator’s house of the Memorial Bridge, waiting for a coal tanker to pass underneath.”

Wednesday, May 5, 2004
Memorial Bridge reopens after impact
Nancy Cicco, Portsmouth Herald
“PORTSMOUTH – Authorities shut down the Memorial Bridge on U.S. Route 1 on Tuesday morning, after a cargo vessel on the Piscataqua River failed to successfully clear the span that links Portsmouth to Kittery, Maine.”

Sunday, April 27, 2003
Memorial Bridge awaits overhaul
Richard Fabrizio, Portsmouth Herald
“The Piscataqua River’s oldest interstate bridge is not in model shape and the process of rehabilitating or replacing it is inching along.”

Sunday, May 9, 2002
NHDOT set to hire Memorial Bridge project consultant
Richard Fabrizio, Portsmouth Herald
“The New Hampshire Department of Transportation is close to hiring a consultant to inspect and recommend repair options for Memorial Bridge over the Piscataqua River … Dave Powelson, chief of the DOT’s existing bridge section, said negotiations are ongoing with a selected consultant … Powelson has said 20 years was a long time to go between paintings.”

Sunday, July 29, 2001
Memorial Bridge repair a sign of things to come
Richard Fabrizio, Portsmouth Herald
“The bridge was closed this past week while the state Department of Transportation replaced lift cables on the 78-year-old span.”

Sunday, October 22, 2000
New cable fixes 800-ton problem, at least for now
Richard Fabrizio, Portsmouth Herald
“One of two cables on the Kittery side of the bridge broke Thursday morning and the New Hampshire Department of Transportation spent the last three days scrambling to fix the problem. Good fortune enabled a quick and partial fix, but residents, businesses and tourists were inconvenienced.”

Friday, October 20, 2000
Broken cable closes bridge
Christine Gillette, Portsmouth Herald
“A broken cable forced state transportation officials on Thursday to close the Memorial Bridge to vehicle traffic, at least through Saturday … Between the $4,400 cost of the cables and labor, repairs could top $10,000 … The cables that are being replaced are about 20 years old and were near the end of their life span.”

Sunday, April 30, 2000
Memorial Bridge is in disrepair

Richard Fabrizio, Portsmouth Herald
“Biannual inspections and a federal bridge rehabilitation funding formula may hold the key to rebuilding Memorial Bridge sooner than its tentative project date of 2010.”

Thursday, April 13, 2000
Decaying Memorial Bridge needs immediate attention
Editorial, Portsmouth Herald
“The condition of Memorial Bridge is a sad commentary on the states’ and nation’s infrastructure reinvestment during this prolonged record-shattering economic expansion … The bridge needed to be fixed several years ago, not several years from now. It was last repainted in 1982 following a bill sponsored in part by Eileen Foley during the former mayor’s final days as a state senator in 1979.”

Sunday, April 9, 2000
Experts fear safety of Memorial Bridge
Richard Fabrizio, Portsmouth Herald
“Memorial Bridge is falling down, falling down, falling down … Why? The bridge, which also serves as a monument to the soldiers of World War I, has not had a significant painting or rehabilitation since Ronald Reagan was in his first presidential term in 1982 … Despite a series of inspections detailing the severe need for repairs, only last year did the state DOT even consider the need for an overhaul of Memorial Bridge … In 1997, Congressman John E. Sununu, R-N.H., worked on a plan to secure $30 million from the U.S. House Transportation Committee for projects related to the three Piscataqua River spans … ‘It is my understanding, that with the significant growth in funding under TEA-21, the state is in a much better position to meet its highway needs, including those of Memorial Bridge.’”

August 26, 1998
Memorial Bridge turns 75; 2 generations of Foleys on hand to cut ribbon
Jason Schreiber, Portsmouth Herald
“Five-year-old Eileen Marie Foley was honored she was chosen to snip the ribbon strung across the Memorial Bridge to mark its 75th anniversary. Whenever anyone would ask her about yesterday’s ribbon-cutting ceremony, little Eileen told them she would be “doing mayor things.” It was a scene reminiscent of the day 75 years ago when former mayor Eileen Foley, who like her granddaughter was also 5 at the time, cut the ribbon to open the bridge that brought the New Hampshire and Maine seacoasts together.”

August 16, 1998
A Big Bridge and a Little Girl, 1923
J. Dennis Robinson, SeacoastNH.com
“Ghostly images show our 5-year old future mayor at her first ribbon cutting.”

Comments

Comment from Ava Anvari
Time: September 30, 2009, 01:10

They created a new bridge in West Chesterfield next to the old bridge- one looks great the other looks old and rusty an eyesoar that goes nowhere, . When they renew a bridge to somewhere we need to take care of the bridges to nowhere at least give it a minor facelift…Ava Anvari

Comment from R. Brown
Time: February 12, 2012, 16:35

This bridge brings fond and not so fond memories…

The first time I crossed it was with my grandfather. It being an open grate roadway at that time (circa 1965 — I was 8) the noise scared me as well as the story he’d tell about a car that went over the side once…all occupants never to be seen again. We would get to Kittery where I could fill up on fried clams…
As I understand it, it was an inland submarine port as well, the river being deep and swift.

In the late 20′s my great aunt Victoria had a house razed for a new approach to the Memorial. This was a “bawdy house” that catered to the sailors of the day and I still have the Colt pistol she kept on her to keep the drunken sailors “in line” and to count receipts at the end of the night. She was actually compensated for the building removal. My mother’s side of the family was originally from Canada and settled in Portsmouth around the time of aunt Vic’s “business venture.” She eventually relocated to what would be around the Strawbery Bank area that as well went seedy in the late 50′s and 60′s.

I was born in Portsmouth and spent so many years visiting 53 Cabot St. (I think on the south side of the May Estate — I hope I have that right) and as little as 6 years ago hardly recognized the place for all the upscale Boston Yuppie commuters…real estate would not be affordable.

My memories of the Memorial will be everlasting. I hope all the scrap ends up in a ship called the “MemoPort,” but alas, it will end up in a car or washing machine or shipped to China…

Rick Brown
Dallas, Texas

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