PORTSMOUTH - The Memorial Bridge is scheduled to open to traffic on Thursday following an official ribbon-cutting ceremony.
The new bridge will be opened initially for pedestrian and bicycle traffic followed by the opening to vehicular traffic to be determined for a time later in the day, the New Hampshire and Maine Departments of Transportation announced Wednesday morning. The old bridge closed for good to all traffic on Jan. 9, 2012.
The ribbon-cutting ceremony will take place at 11 a.m. on the Scott Avenue approach to the bridge to be preceded by a procession from the Maine side of the span starting at 10:40 a.m.
After the ceremony, the bridge will open for an extended period for pedestrians and bicyclists only to tour and walk the bridge.
The safe opening of the bridge to vehicle traffic will be determined in consultation with the contractor, Archer Western, and the Portsmouth and Kittery police departments.
A press release from the DOT indicated that while the bridge is expected to be open to traffic, there remains construction work to be completed on the $81.4 million project. The ongoing work will result in occasional traffic delays and short term bridge access limitations for pedestrians and bicyclists until full project completion in November.
The remaining work includes installing memorial plaques, system operation adjustments, installation of community sponsored bridge illumination; counterweight chain adjustments, installation of a pier protection fender system, and completion of Memorial Park.