NH News
5:23 pm
Tue April 2, 2013

Sarah Long Bridge Closed Indefinitely After Sustaining 'Significant Damage' From Tanker Strike

The Sarah Long Bridge between Portsmouth and Kittery, Maine sustained significant damage from a ship accident.  On Monday afternoon, a tanker ship drifted into the bridge. 

New Hampshire Governor Maggie Hassan and State Transportation Commissioner Chris Clement spent Tuesday morning surveying the damage.  The tanker Harbour Feature is now docked at the state pier, where the Governor updated her survey of the bridge damage assessment.

"There are divers looking at what has happened below water to the piers, and obviously engineers looking right now at supports on the bridge," Hassan said.

Commissioner Clement says the bridge sustained what he calls pretty severe structural damage to vertical support and concrete piers. An inspection team will examine damaged bridge cross members, while divers check the granite support posts below water.

"We’re going to have a dive team that’s going to go down and look at the pier structures below the water line to make sure there isn’t any damage to the New Hampshire granite piles if you will down below," Clement said.

Clement says there were no liquids spilled into the Piscataqua River after the tanker struck the bridge.  The river is now open to boat traffic, but closed indefinitely to vehicles.   The Coast Guard is expected to examine the ship and question the captain about the incident.