KITTERY, Maine — Maine and New Hampshire transportation officials believe they can replace the Sarah Mildred Long Bridge, which connects the two states between Kittery and Portsmouth, for $12 million less than originally planned.
According to a Maine Department of Transportation announcement Thursday, the scheduled 2014 replacement of the 73-year-old Route 1 bridge is now expected to cost $160 million. That’s a reduction from an original estimate of $172 million.
The 2014 replacement project is independent from $2.5 million in currently ongoing repairs to the structure made necessary by an April 1 incident, when the tanker MV Harbour Feature came loose from its docking nearby and clipped the bridge.
The Sarah Mildred Long Bridge — which is co-owned by the states of Maine and New Hampshire and named for a former longtime head of the Maine-New Hampshire Interstate Bridge Authority — carries about 16,000 vehicles a day when it is open, a New Hampshire transportation official told the BDN.
Planning for the replacement next year are the Maine and New Hampshire departments of transportation, Figg Engineering Group and Pittsfield-based Cianbro Corp.
“Through this team process, we are able to identify significant cost savings to the taxpayers of both states,” said MaineDOT Deputy Commissioner Bruce Van Note in a statement. “The biggest challenge to delivering this project is funding. We have the team, we have the desire, we have the ability, we just need to find the money — and every dollar counts.”
With the Sarah Mildred Long Bridge closed due to the tanker collision and ongoing construction work also closing the nearby Memorial Bridge until at least July, only one of the three bridges crossing the Piscataqua River from Kittery to Portsmouth, N.H., remains open to traffic.
The remaining Piscataqua River Bridge carries Interstate 95 from Maine to New Hampshire.