1 vote

Sarah Mildred Long Bridge (1940)


Photo taken by John Reidy


BH Photo #176238

Street Views 


Vertical lift bridge over Piscataqua River on US 1 Bypass in Portsmouth
Portsmouth, Rockingham County, New Hampshire, and York County, Maine
Replaced by a new bridge
Built 1940; rehabilitated 1991; railroad use discontinued Dec. 2015; replaced 2017-2018
- Harrington & Cortelyou of Kansas City
- Boston & Maine Railroad (BM)
Vertical lift, with retractible girder draw span on railroad deck
Length of largest span: 227.0 ft.
Total length: 2,804.3 ft. (0.5 mi.)
Deck width: 29.9 ft.
Vertical clearance above deck: 16.1 ft.
Eligible for the National Register of Historic Places
Also called
Piscataqua River Bridge
Approximate latitude, longitude
+43.08472, -70.76167   (decimal degrees)
43°05'05" N, 70°45'42" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
19/356605/4771729 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Average daily traffic (as of 2015)
Inventory number
BH 25016 (Bridgehunter.com ID)
Inspection report (as of November 2017)
Overall condition: Poor
Superstructure condition rating: Imminent Failure (1 out of 9)
Substructure condition rating: Imminent Failure (1 out of 9)
Deck condition rating: Imminent Failure (1 out of 9)
Sufficiency rating: 2 (out of 100)
View more at BridgeReports.com

Update Log 

  • July 24, 2020: Updated by Nick Boppel: Removed category "Replaced by UCEB": the new bridge is unique enough with the lowering lift span
  • March 19, 2019: Updated by Clark Vance: Added category "Harrington & Cortelyou"
  • March 29, 2018: Updated by Amanda: Replaced by UCEB
  • October 23, 2017: Updated by Matthew: The bridge has now been demolished
  • August 25, 2016: New Street View added by Dana and Kay Klein
  • March 9, 2016: New photo from Mike Garland
  • December 10, 2015: Updated by Alexander D. Mitchell IV: Last train operated Dec. 2015; updated design and removal dates
  • December 7, 2015: New Street View added by Douglas Butler
  • July 20, 2014: New Street View added by Ralph Demars
  • August 27, 2013: New photo from Douglas Butler
  • July 6, 2013: Updated by Luke Harden: Bridge is doomed. added categories
  • September 5, 2010: New photos from John Reidy
  • April 13, 2010: New Street View added by Nathan Holth
  • October 17, 2009: Updated by C Hanchey: Bridge is called the Sarah Mildred Long Bridge

Related Bridges 



Sarah Mildred Long Bridge
Posted August 25, 2016, by Dan Schoenherr (htis2008 [at] gmail [dot] com)

As of this week it is stuck in the "up" position until final demolition. Per the demands of the US Coast Guard-insofar as it had failed in the down position and navigation takes precedence.

Curiously no mention was made of the lost potential for re-use as was described below.

Before the I-95 bridge was completed the two lift bridges in Portsmouth were capable of traffic backups halfway down to Massachusetts on a summer weekend.

Outside of the scope of this website one of the largest pre-nuclear detonations in the history of the human race took place in 1905 here to improve this waterway.

Sarah Mildred Long Bridge
Posted January 5, 2015, by Will Truax (Bridgewright [at] gmail [dot] com)

Meaningless inane letters to the editor aside...

There was unfortunate news here today that holds a bit more meaning than the words of someone who cancels out their own opinion by dismissing an entire class of bridges >


Sarah Mildred Long Bridge
Posted July 20, 2014, by Ralph Demars (rdemars1 [at] yahoo [dot] com)

Also, it's great that the NHDOT and the MDOT are making it available for reuse. Both decks(the upper road and the lower railroad) would make great bike paths.

Sarah Mildred Long Bridge
Posted July 20, 2014, by Ralph Demars (rdemars1 [at] yahoo [dot] com)

Hmmm... can anyone tell me how that lower raildeck drawbridge works?

BTW just added a street view of it.

Sarah Mildred Long Bridge
Posted July 17, 2014, by ArtS (asuckewer [at] knite [dot] com)

Available for adaptive reuse in a new location...



REGARDING BRIDGE AVAILABLE FOR ADAPTIVE REUSE The Sarah Mildred Long Bridge on U.S. Route 1 Bypass and Railroad over the Piscataqua River in Kittery, York County, Maine and Portsmouth, Rockingham County, New Hampshire is available for adaptive reuse at a new location. Prior to dismantling, Federal law requires MaineDOT, New Hampshire DOT, and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to first offer the bridge to any group that could legally take possession of the bridge and maintain it, provided the group assumes all future legal and financial liability (see 23 USC 144 (5 and 6)). Costs to induce acceptance of the offer of donation may not exceed the cost to dismantle the bridge. FHWA, MaineDOT and New Hampshire DOT will work jointly to determine the most appropriate use of the existing bridge from any proposals received. The National Register-eligible 1940 Sarah Mildred Long Bridge designed by Harrington and Cortelyou is a 27 span, 2804 foot long bridge consisting of a 243 foot long vertical lift span flanked at each end by two 227 foot long warren with vertical deck truss spans. There are seven north approach spans ranging from 70 feet to 90 feet long and riveted Parker thru truss main span and a 96 foot long riveted camelback pony truss approach span. The south approach spans consist of 15 deck girder spans. If the bridge is transferred to another party, the transfer deed may include preservation covenants that require the new owner to preserve and maintain the bridge in accordance with established standards for historic bridges. Interested parties may contact David Gardner at the following address by September 1, 2014: Maine Department of Transportation, Environmental Office 16 State House Station Augusta, ME 04333PUBLIC Notice PUBLIC Notice PUBLIC Notice5103218

Appeared in: Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram on Thursday, 07/17/2014

Sarah Mildred Long Bridge
Posted July 6, 2013, by Mike

Get photos while you can, folks. Maine and New Hampshire have begun the planning and design process to replace this bridge. The new bridge may or may not have a railroad deck, depending on the funding situation. TIGER grants have been applied for but ME and NH will be competing against many other projects. The states asked the Navy to help pay for the rail portion, since they're the only one who benefits from it, but the Navy declined (even though they acknowledged that rail is their preferred way to transport spent fuel rods out of the yard).

Sarah Mildred Long Bridge
Posted December 6, 2011, by Nathan Holth (form3 [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

That span is a rare variation of a retractile type movable span. I call it a variation because the span must be raised a short distance before being rolled back which is unlike most retractile bridges.

Sarah Mildred Long Bridge
Posted December 6, 2011, by Josh (joshg1 [at] comcast [dot] net)

Not mentioned is that fact the SM Long bridge has a lower deck for the railway (now just a spur to the Naval Shipyard) and that lower deck has a drawbridge, usually left open, under the fixed span on the Maine side under the fixed span.

The attached photo is by JayDuck and copied from the Wikipedia page for the Long bridge.

Sarah Mildred Long Bridge
Posted June 25, 2010, by Nathan Holth (form3 [at] historicbridges [dot] org)


The National Bridge Inventory lists the "Navigation Vertical Clearance" as 68.9 Feet (41 meters). This may be when the bridge is raised.

Sarah Mildred Long Bridge
Posted June 24, 2010, by Robert W. Miller (millpark99 [at] yahoo [dot] com)

You have done a marvelous job of describing a part of our seacoast culture. Your condition report shows you have a good grasp of important detail that takes this report into the seriously useful data and sets it apart from idle artistic information.

However, there is one critical piece of data not reported. What is the vertical clearance above mean seal level at maximum lift?