Delegations push feds for Memorial Bridge replacement

September 14, 2010

Members of the N.H. and Maine congressional delegations this week sent a letter to U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood expressing their support for the TIGER II federal grant to replace the Memorial Bridge.

The letter, dated Sept. 13, was signed by Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins and Rep. Chellie Pingree of Maine, and Sen. Jeanne Shaheen and Rep. Carol Shea-Porter of N.H.

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N.H. Sen. Judd Gregg sent his own letter of support at the time the application was submitted in late August.

"The bridge is a necessary and valuable point of crossing for our states and if it is not repaired, marine, vehicle, pedestrian and bicycle traffic will be disrupted," they wrote.

The delegation members laid out a litany of facts about the bridge, including the fact that it carries 12,000 cars a day, and that it is the only crossing for pedestrians and cyclists between Portsmouth and Kittery.

"Replacing the Memorial Bridge is critical to maintaining regional economic growth and vitality and preserving an essential crossing between our states," they wrote.

They told LaHood that a replacement project will create 197 on-site jobs and more than 950 estimated jobs would be created, directly or indirectly, by the construction investment.

They said the bridge serves as a main crossing for workers to and from the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. Further, they said, a replacement Memorial Bridge will allow the two states "to focus near-term future funding toward addressing the necessary repairs at the Sarah Mildred Long Bridge," which contains a rail line to the yard.

By:  Deborah McDermott
Source: Portsmouth Herald