MAINE AND NEW HAMPSHIRE DELEGATION EXTEND BIPARTISAN INVITATION TO SECRETARY FOXX TO TOUR SARAH LONG BRIDGE

Shaheen, Ayotte, King, Shea-Porter, Pingree, Michaud continue push to replace bridge’s seventy year old structure

June 28, 2013

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Senators Jeanne Shaheen, Kelly Ayotte, Angus King and Representatives Carol Shea-Porter, Chellie Pingree, and Mike Michaud invited newly confirmed Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx to visit the Sarah Mildred Long Bridge, which desperately needs to be replaced. The invitation marks the delegation’s latest push to repair the bridge’s seventy year old structure.

“We write to congratulate you on your confirmation as Secretary of Transportation, and to invite you to visit Portsmouth, New Hampshire and Kittery, Maine in order to tour the communities and see the Sarah Mildred Long Bridge,” the delegation said in a letter sent to Secretary Foxx this morning. “Both Maine and New Hampshire agree that the Bridge is in urgent need of replacement, as both states came together to submit a joint application for a $25 million Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) V grant for this project on June 3, 2013.”

The Sarah Mildred Long Bridge provides a critical link between Maine and New Hampshire, and the bridge’s rail component supports critical national security interests by enabling safe and efficient transportation of nuclear waste from the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. 

“This vital infrastructure, constructed over 70 years ago, has reached the end of its service life and is in need of a full replacement,” the letter continues. “The Federal Highway Administration has classified the bridge as structurally deficient, and noted its truss spans are fracture critical, meaning that the failure of steel tension members could result in collapse. Full replacement of the Bridge is vital to this coastal corridor, as well as to the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard and the Port of New Hampshire.”

In early June, all eight members of the Maine and New Hampshire congressional delegations sent a letter to then-Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood regarding a $25 million Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) V grant for the Sarah Mildred Long Bridge Replacement Project.

The full text of the letter is below.

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June 28, 2013

Secretary Anthony Foxx

U.S. Department of Transportation

1200 New Jersey Ave, SE

Washington, DC 20590

Dear Secretary Foxx,

We write to congratulate you on your confirmation as Secretary of Transportation, and to invite you to visit Portsmouth, New Hampshire and Kittery, Maine in order to tour the communities and see the Sarah Mildred Long Bridge (the Bridge).  Both Maine and New Hampshire agree that the Bridge is in urgent need of replacement, as both states came together to submit a joint application for a $25 million Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) V grant for this project on June 3, 2013. 

The Sarah Mildred Long Bridge connects Portsmouth, NH and Kittery, ME and provides essential redundancy for the I-95 High-Level Bridge linking the two states. If the High-Level Bridge is closed and the Sarah Long Bridge is unavailable—it has been closed multiple times for malfunctions and unplanned maintenance and was posted at 20 tons in 2009—the nearest detour is more than 20 miles away.  The Bridge’s rail component also supports a critical national security need, enabling the safe and efficient transport of nuclear waste from the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. 

This vital infrastructure, constructed over 70 years ago, has reached the end of its service life and is in need of a full replacement. The Federal Highway Administration has classified the bridge as structurally deficient, and noted its truss spans are fracture critical, meaning that the failure of steel tension members could result in collapse. Full replacement of the Bridge is vital to this coastal corridor, as well as the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard and the Port of New Hampshire.

We recently sent a letter regarding the States’ joint TIGER V application. We ask that you give the application your full and fair consideration. We would be grateful if you would visit the Bridge to see its importance to the region firsthand.

Thank you for your consideration of this request, and we look forward to your response.

Sincerely,

Angus King

United States Senator

Jeanne Shaheen

United States Senator

Mike Michaud

Member of Congress    

Kelly Ayotte

United States Senator

Chellie Pingree  

Member of Congress  

Carol Shea-Porter

Member of Congress

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