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U.S. Department of Transportation, Office of Public Affairs, Washington, D.C., www.dot.gov/affairs/briefing.htm - News

FHWA 08-11
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Contact: Kelly Hanahan
Tel: 202-366-0660

U.S. Transportation Secretary LaHood Announces Agreement to Replace Memorial Bridge

Project will restore critical trade route, increase economic competiveness in the Northeast

WASHINGTON - The Memorial Bridge can now be replaced thanks to a signed agreement between the U.S. Department of Transportation and the New Hampshire Department of Transportation (NHDOT), U. S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced today.

The bridge, New Hampshire's number one bridge replacement priority, is currently closed to truck traffic. Trucks moving goods from the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard are forced to detour, resulting in increased costs and lost time.

"A new Memorial Bridge will create jobs and help move goods more efficiently from the shipyard to the rest of the country," said Secretary LaHood. "Our investment in this critical project will pay dividends to Maine and New Hampshire and provide an economic boost to the entire region."

The joint Maine and New Hampshire project, located in Portsmouth, NH and Kittery, ME, received $20 million from the Department's TIGER II (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) program that will help fully replace the bridge. The overall cost of the project is estimated at $90 million.

Not only will trucks be able to move more efficiently, the new bridge will also accommodate increased automobile traffic as well as more than 1,000 bicyclists and pedestrians every day.

"This bridge replacement will put people to work and restore a key transportation link in the area," said Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez. "The Memorial Bridge is a great example of how we can rebuild our economy by rebuilding America."

The grant was awarded as part of the TIGER II program that the Department announced on October 30, 2010. Seventy projects in 40 states were awarded $600 million in grants for projects that have a significant impact on the nation, a region or metropolitan area. The projects chosen demonstrate an ability to contribute to the long-term economic competitiveness of the nation, improve the condition of existing transportation facilities and systems, increase energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve the safety of U.S. transportation facilities, increase livability and create or preserve jobs quickly.

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