Denise Goldberg's blog

Monday, June 17, 2013

center span placed

Today was "float the center span in" day for the new Memorial Bridge in Portsmouth. The river closure started at 1 AM and I expected the center span to be floated to the bridge soon after that time. I considered heading to Portsmouth to watch last night but somehow watching and then staying awake all night (or sleeping in my car) didn't appeal to me. So... this morning I headed to Portsmouth for some bridge watching.

I arrived before 8 AM, parking my car on Peirce Island. I walked across the bridge back to Portsmouth then headed to the pier closest to the bridge. The center span was in place, still appearing to be resting on the supports on the barge. As the hours passed the span was attached to the bridge, unfortunately via an activity that was not visible from where I was watching.

The span (on the barge on which it was assembled) floated from the construction site to the bridge at 1 AM, high tide. By late morning the workers were disassembling the pieces of the barge that cradled the span so the barge could be removed. It was still in place when I left Portsmouth this afternoon but I just checked the bridge web cams; the center span now has nothing under it.

Memorial Bridge, Portsmouth Kittery
(screen shot) from the Memorial Bridge webcam

I stood on the pier next to the bridge, I moved to a pier a bit further back that has a good full bridge view, and I spent some time soaking in the scenery from Four Tree Island (just off of Peirce Island). Everywhere I walked I found other people who were as fascinated by the bridge construction as I am, wonderful!

I took a break from bridge watching late in the morning, heading to Discover Portsmouth where there is an exhibit on the bridge reconstruction. If you're near Portsmouth, I highly recommend taking the time to visit the exhibit Bridging the Piscataqua: Construction + Community, running through October 13, 2013.

I'm looking forward to crossing the new Memorial Bridge by foot and by bike. Oh, I'll probably drive across too, but it's the human-powered options that tempt me.

It sounds like the bridge will be opening sometime in July.

control room, nicely windowed

center span in place, looking like a full bridge!

More photos of the bridge can be viewed in the gallery Rebuilding a bridge, Portsmouth - Kittery. Images from today start with this photo and end here.