Extreme cold may be to blame for Memorial Bridge closing in Portsmouth
New Hampshire Department of Transportation spokesman Bill Boynton said the bridge did not seat properly after being lowered following a lift around 9 p.m., forcing workers to close the bridge for about an hour until the problem was worked out.
Boynton said the bridge is still a construction site, and some tweaking associated with cold weather has been done, including changing the type of grease used to try and allow for better lift operation in cold temperatures.
"I don't think we are at this point connecting any of the issues directly to the weather other than it was definitely cold last night, and it is going to be very cold tonight," Boynton said Friday afternoon. "It is certainly facing cold weather tests in terms of the kind of conditions we are operating under. Not unlike a brand-new car that sits out in the cold, it (the lift bridge) needs to be warmed up in order to operate properly."
Operational work also continues on the bridge. Next week, the external warning gate system will be replaced after a series of problems that initially started before the new bridge connecting Kittery, Maine, and Portsmouth via Route 1 opened in August.