PORTSMOUTH, New Hampshire — The final span of the new Memorial Bridge connecting New Hampshire and Maine survived its "float-in" down the Piscataqua River early Monday.
The U.S. Coast Guard closed the river to maritime traffic to allow contractor Archer Western full access to the bridge and conduct the float-in.
Archer Western had assembled the span aboard the barge Cape Cod, which carried the span from the Port of New Hampshire.
It's the most complicated of three spans to put into place. Archer Western said it would take up to 12 hours to get the span in place and secured.
River traffic won't be allowed for five days as the bridge is hooked up and tested. Traffic is scheduled to resume on June 22. Onlookers can expect to see the span raise and lower more than once during the testing.
The arrangement is similar to a three-day closure in February 2012 that took place when the old bridge's center span was removed.
The new bridge is replacing a nearly 90-year-old bridge connecting Portsmouth to Kittery, Maine. The design reuses the original 1922 piers as the base for the modern supports. It will continue to display the 1924 memorial tablet and beaux arts decoration fabricated by the Gorham Bronze Co. of Providence, Rhode Island
The float-in was originally scheduled for June 10, but equipment repairs needed on a large crane delayed the date.
Project manager Stephen DelGrosso said it is too early to tell if the bridge opening date will be affected.
"We still expect to open the bridge to traffic in July," he said.