As we follow the progress of the construction of the new S. Mildred Long Bridge (named after my father’s 1st cousin) in Portsmouth, NH we have reached a significant milestone, as the new structure takes its shape, and rises up, out of the Piscataqua River, while demolition of the old bridge has begun in earnest.
Last week, the middle section (224’ lift span) of the old bridge was removed and floated away on barges. Beyond that feat, the work has begun to dismantle the lift towers (top down process) which should be completed by Christmas. As the picture (to the right) shows, the new precast lift towers sections are being stacked, one on top each other. These new tower sections were precast by Cianbro at the port authority terminal, placed on barges and are being set by a state-of-the-art 300 ton Manitowoc crane. Once they are all in place, they will comprise the 4 lift towers that will raise the lift span to accommodate ocean vessels, which travel up the river to many of the fuel storage terminals and bulk product facilities.
Designed by Figg Engineering, this bridge is very unique, and is the first of this type in North America. It will be able to handle commercial and pedestrian vehicle traffic, rail line, while accommodating commercial and pleasure boat traffic. The recent opening of the new “wider” lock on the Panama Canal will change the size and beam (width) of the entire world commercial cargo fleet. This structure was designed to handle the next generation of larger vessels, and will give the port a competitive edge, over other harbors that have width and height bridge restrictions. By placing the bridge 200’ up river, the structure is now in proper alignment with the natural river channel, and is 60’ wider than the old lift span.
Our coverage of this project has been a pure team effort. A.H. Harris Account Managers, Tad Spiller & Bruce Rolston have tag-teamed to provide the highest level of field service. We partnered with key vendors like Euclid, Dayton & Sika to maximize our opportunities. We have provided Cianbro with off-site product storage, while the Portsmouth team has provided outstanding quick response service; including many “emergency” rebar fabrication orders that were turned around within hours.
This “one of a kind” project is on schedule with an anticipated opening of September 2017, and final completion in February 2018.