PORTSMOUTH, New Hampshire (NEWS CENTER)-- The final phase of the Sarah Mildred Long Bridge replacement project began Wednesday morning, with the tied being used to place the last piece.

The Maine and New Hampshire Departments of Transportation are using the tide of the Piscataqua River to raise and then lower the lift span on to its bearings.
The lift span is the central part of the bridge that rises to accommodate marine traffic passing underneath. Unlike the previous bridge, in the new design, the lift span will also lower to connect the train trestle, eliminating the need for a second tier- saving millions of dollars and reducing the amount of times the bridge will have to open for ships by an estimated 68 percent. The chief engineer of the Maine DOT calls this a once in a lifetime project.

“I'm really excited for the people of this region, this is really an important bridge for them, they've gone without it for a year,” said Chief Engineer Joyce Taylor. “For Maine DOT, this is our second most important bridge in the state, the first being the high level crossing into Maine from New Hampshire, but this is our back up.

The Sarah Mildred Long Bridge, which connects Kittery, Maine to Portsmouth, New Hampshire, is set to open to vehicle traffic at the end of November, and be fully completed by the summertime. Marine traffic around the bridge is closed until October 27th.

Watch the floating process here.