June 16. 2013 10:05PM

Final Float-In For Memorial Bridge Scheduled for This Morning

By Gretyl Macalaster,
Union Leader Correspondent

By the time early Monday morning, the center span of the new Memorial Bridge was expected to be floated into place.

The barge Cape Cod was scheduled to move the center and final span of the bridge from the New Hampshire State Pier to the bridge around 1 a.m. this morning.

Carol Morris, spokesman with Archer Western, the main contractors on the project, said it will take up to 12 hours to get the span in place and secured.

A five-day river closure was to take effect at 1 a.m. and continue through 1 a.m. on June 22. The river closure was coordinated with the United States Coast Guard.

The move of the center span is being coordinated with the Portsmouth Harbor Pilots and is highly dependent on the tides in the fast-flowing river.

Morris said the goal is to move the span down to the bridge just as the outgoing tide is reaching slack.

Bridge watchers had already gathered at the north pier at Prescott Park by 10 p.m. in anticipation of the historic event.

Onlookers can expect to see the span raise and lower more than once during the next five days as testing of the lift mechanism continues.

The bridge is expected to open to traffic sometime in July.