Sarah Mildred Long Bridge opening to be delayed

Nov. 30, 2017

The Maine DOT is now eyeing a late December release to live traffic

The Maine Department of Transportation (MDOT) has announced that it is working with its contractor for the Sarah Mildred Long Bridge project, Cinabro Corporation, to identify those aspects of the project that are presently causing a delay in the agency’s ability to open the bridge to live traffic.

The bridge was meant to be open on Sept. 1 of this year; that date was subsequently dialed back to Dec. 1, and it now seems this will not be a likely target either.

MDOT Press Secretary Ted Talbot told the press earlier this week, “We’re confident the bridge will be open by year’s end. Any discussion about delays can take place when the bridge is open, but right now all of our energy and resources are focused on getting this bridge open . . . We’re working really well with the contractor right now, and we’ll have a conversation about what caused these delays, but that is really not the focus right now. This is the largest bridge construction project we’ve been a part of, in terms of structure and cost.”

Construction on the $170 million Sarah Mildred Long Bridge began in 2015; the original structure was closed to traffic in August 2016, after nearly eight decades of service.

The new bridge connects Portsmouth with Kittery along the Route 1 Bypass over the Piscataqua River.

The delay in opening the new bridge for vehicular traffic carries a $1,000 per-day penalty for Cianbro for every day the bridge remains unopened to vehicles beyond the original Sept. 1 opening date.

MDOT has indicated that there will be additional per-day penalties on the contractor for every day past the June 1, 2018, deadline of having the entire project complete—including removal of the construction trestle adjacent to the bridge, installation of railroad tracks and landscaping on both sides of the bridge.

Roads & Bridges visited this project earlier this year, video of which can be viewed here.