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Construction well underway on new bridge to link New Hampshire, Maine

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PORTSMOUTH, New Hampshire — Cranes on the New Hampshire and Maine banks of the Piscataqua River are the most visible sign of work progressing on the new Sarah Long Bridge across the river.

Construction began in January on the new, $158 million span between Portsmouth and Kittery, Maine. An additional $11 million was spent on engineering and design. The bridge is expected to open in August 2017.

Seacoastonline reports that 15 piers will be built over the course of the next year, and work has already begun to prepare for the installation of all of them.

Ron Taylor, Maine Department of Transportation project engineer for the new bridge, said work is under way in preparation for pier construction - a painstaking process that takes into account the fast tidal currents of the Piscataqua River and the impact of the piers on fish and other aquatic species.

The existing span is the No. 1 red-listed bridge in New Hampshire, due to age and dilapidation. It opened in 1940.

Like the existing bridge, the new bridge will have both a traffic deck and a rail deck to accommodate rail cars of nuclear material leaving Portsmouth Naval Shipyard.

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