Changes Along The Portsmouth Waterfront

It’s been a very busy few years along the Bow Street waterfront in Portsmouth.  The Martingale Wharf building has now long been completed, the River House expanded its deck to the second story, the Memorial Bridge has been replaced and is almost operational – yet the waterfront still looks as though it could have come out of a time capsule from 100 years ago.  I’ll always love the simplicity of the waterfront and its accessibility – one of the many things that makes me happy to call the seacoast home.

The Sarah Long Bridge [The Middle Bridge]

Now that the Memorial Bridge is nearing its reopening date, I thought I’d feature another one of our endangered bridges.  The Sarah Long Bridge aka The Middle Bridge is another linear bridge connecting the communities of Portsmouth, NH and Kittery, ME.  I was out for a sunset harbor cruise with Portsmouth Harbor Cruises and as we were arriving back in Portsmouth after heading upriver, we were followed by a beautiful sunset that accentuated the color and the deterioration of the Middle Bridge.  This structure will be replaced in the next several years, and isn’t quite as accessible as the Memorial Bridge – but it is a critical piece of infrastructure nonetheless.

Before the Installation

The middle span of the new Memorial Bridge sits in waiting next to the Middle Bridge just days ahead of its final placement in the new structure.  This is the last time we’ll see this view of the middle span, as of Monday June 17th, it’s officially wedged in between the North and South towers, ready for lifting and nearly ready for us to enjoy driving over again!

The New Memorial Bridge

The clock is ticking – and the scheduled opening of the new Memorial Bridge is less than one month away.  Monday June 17th marks the day the middle span will be floated in, completing this streamlined path of steel from Portsmouth to Kittery. It’s been so long since I could walk across the decking that I’ve almost forgotten what it’s like…but with the opening on the horizon, I can’t wait to get back out over the Piscataqua River for some new vantage points.

I was most shocked recently when these massive chains showed up hanging in the bridge abutments – and I’ve been told by one of the workers that each link weighs in at a hefty 500 pounds. There are so many little nuances of the bridge that have been interesting to discover over the past year…with the most significant yet to come – the ability to walk and drive to and from Kittery/Portsmouth.