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U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) officials yesterday participated in a ceremonial launch of the Sarah Mildred Long Bridge replacement project, along with U.S. Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Maine Gov. Paul LePage, New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan, and other federal and state officials.The 65-year-old lift bridge spans the Piscataqua River between Maine and New Hampshire. Through a $158.5 million project governed by the Maine and New Hampshire departments of transportation, the rail and highway bridge will be replaced.The structure accommodates an estimated 14,000 drivers daily between Kittery and Portsmouth, N.H., and serves as the primary emergency alternate for the Interstate 95 high-level bridge that connects the two states. To be completed in September 2017, the new bridge will feature an integrated rail-highway lift span to maintain rail access for the Portsmouth Naval Station. Rail is the only viable transportation mode allowed by the U.S. Navy for the station to transport spent nuclear fuel from serviced submarines.Designed by a joint venture between FIGG Engineering Group and Hardesty & Hanover, the bridge will be built by contractor Cianbro Cos.The existing bridge will be closed for about 10 months to accommodate approach work and traffic will be rerouted to the Piscataqua River Bridge on I-95. The project last year obtained a $25 million Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery grant from the USDOT."We're putting Americans to work building bridges, like this one, not just for the next generation but for decades to come," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx in a press release. "We need more projects like this in every state to fix our aging infrastructure."
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