Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Memorial Bridge Deconstruction

Opened in 1923, the Memorial Bridge between Portsmouth and Kittery is being dismantled and replaced.

The decaying bridge closed to vehicular traffic on July 27, 2011. Pedestrians and bicyclists continued using the bridge until January 9, 2011.

The 89-year-old Memorial Bridge center lift span, weighing 2 million pounds, was detached from the towers on February 8 and lowered onto the barge Cape Cod.

A week later, on February 15, the span left Portsmouth forever, destined for a Boston scrap yard.

On the afternoon of February 21, the upper deck of a tugboat named Miss Stacy collided with the roadway near the west tower, on the north side. The fast Piscataqua River current pushed the hull under the bridge, causing the boat to tilt on its port side. The boat quickly began to take on water.

When the ship threatened to capsize, two crew members were successfully rescued. One of Portsmouth’s landmark tugboats, the Eugenia Moran, towed the Miss Tracy to safety. Coincidentally, U. S. Representative Frank Guinta was onboard the Eugenia Moran during the rescue.

The next major step is for a 750-ton crane barge to remove the two 250-ton counterweights and the 200-foot towers.

The plaques on the bridge, including the large dedication to WWI veterans on the Portsmouth (west) end, are to be refurbished and eventually installed on the new Memorial Bridge.

Most of this information came from news articles on I will add future updates as replacement of the Memorial Bridge continues.

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