Visible from the bridge, the sign, “Happy Bridge Day!” sums up the party atmosphere at the opening of the new $81.4 million Memorial Bridge linking Portsmouth NH with Kittery ME. Sister cities in two states were reunited yesterday and it felt good.
It was a time for the two communities to celebrate the teamwork it took to secure the federal grant for the nineteen-month bridge building project. Following dignitary speeches and the ribbon cutting by 95-year old Eileen Foley who cut the 1923 Memorial Bridge ribbon when she was just 5-years old, hundreds of pedestrians and bicyclers from each state passed each other as they made the trek across the bridge over the Piscataqua River.
Designed by Ted Zoli, structural engineer with HNTB Corportation, is very well-known in the world of bridges for combining structural integrity with bold and elegant designs. The Memorial Bridge is the first non-gusset truss bridge in the world, the first to incorporate cold bending of steel and the first to have the machine rooms beneath the bridge. In designing the bridge, he honored the past by reflecting the look of the original 1923 bridge designed by John Alexander Low Waddell.
Steve DelGrosso, project manager of Archer Western Contractors, his crew, subcontractors, and DOT workers were big a part of the celebration, many of whom worked 140-hours a week for the past month to complete the project by the August 8 Bridge Opening Ceremony.