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Exhibit opens before debut of new NH-Maine bridge

May 26, 2013

PORTSMOUTH, N.H. (AP) — The new Memorial Bridge connecting New Hampshire and Maine is scheduled to be ready in July, but the celebration will begin ahead of time.

The first official celebration of the bridge is starting with an opening reception June 6 of an exhibit, “Bridging the Piscataqua: Construction and Community.”

The exhibit will run from June 7 through Oct. 13 and will tell the story of Piscataqua River bridges from the 1790s to today through paintings, photographs and videos. It will show at Discover Portsmouth.

One focus is the original Memorial Bridge, designer A.L Waddell’s 1923 memorial to those who fought in WWI. The bridge allowed workers direct access from New Hampshire to the Navy shipyard in Kittery, Maine. Based on the success of Memorial Bridge and two contemporaries in New Jersey, Waddell’s vertical-lift design was adopted in locations throughout the world.

Later, the addition of the 1940 Sarah Mildred Long Bridge, named after a local woman who worked her entire career for the bridge commission, and the 1972 high-level bridge for Interstate 95 completed the crossing connections of the lower Piscataqua.

The new Memorial Bridge connecting Portsmouth to Kittery is being constructed by Archer-Western. The design reuses the original 1922 piers as the base for the modern supports. It will continue to display the 1924 memorial tablet and beaux arts decoration fabricated by the Gorham Bronze Co. of Providence, R.I.

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