December 16, 2017
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70-mph wind gust knocks Maine truck off bridge, into river

By Alex LaCasse, Portsmouth Herald
Updated:
RIch Beauchesne | Portsmouth Herald | BDN
RIch Beauchesne | Portsmouth Herald | BDN
A barge floats in the center span of the Sarah Mildred Long bridge connecting Kittery with Portsmouth, New Hampshire, on Oct. 18, 2017. The bridge is under construction and is due to open to vehicular traffic in November.

An unoccupied scaffolding truck blew off the railroad portion of the Sarah Mildred Long Bridge between Kittery and Portsmouth, New Hampshire, at approximately 5 a.m. Monday.

Ron Taylor, the resident engineer for the SML Bridge project with the Maine Department of Transportation, said the bridge did not sustain any damage and no one was hurt when 70 mile-per-hour wind gusts blew the truck into the Piscataqua River. He said the truck was parked on the Portsmouth side, just north of Pier 5 and was previously parked to, “access the underside of the bridge,” for scaffolding work.

Taylor said the truck is completely submerged and said since the bridge did not sustain any damage MDOT is treating the accident as a “contractor issue.” Therefore, he said, he did not know Maine-based general contractor, Cianbro Corporation’s plan for getting the truck out of the river. He said divers were in the water throughout the morning assessing the situation.

The bridge is currently being reconstructed. The nearly eight-decade-old bridge was closed in August 2016 after a malfunction. It is due to be reopened to vehicular traffic in November.

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