The importance of the original 1922 Memorial Bridge, designed by J.A.L. Waddell, is clear. The project team understands this and honors the 1922 bridge with a new modern bridge that strives to live up to the engineering innovations used by Waddell and sets the stage for the future of movable bridge design worldwide.
The new Memorial Bridge echoes the look and configuration of the 1922 bridge, but represents a sleek, modern form that focuses on the realities of bridge design in the 21st century; where efficiencies are not measured solely in materials but instead measured by enhanced safety, reduced costs, reduced maintenance, sustainability and extended service life.
The new Memorial Bridge design continues Waddell’s search for a better, more efficient and reliable movable bridge system with several modern engineering and construction innovations (and advantages).
According to Keith Cota, Chief Project Manager, at the NHDOT, “We are very proud to have such an innovative design that integrates modern needs with historic location. The entire team has worked very hard to bring this first-of-its-kind bridge to fruition within a fast track format.”
The new Memorial Bridge also significantly enhances the travel experience for pedestrians and bicyclists. The bridge includes a five-foot wide bicycle lane and a six-foot wide sidewalk on each side. The steel grate in the center portion of the old bridge will be gone. The entire travel surface will now be one solid material – no more steel grate to navigate!
The pedestrian experience is also enhanced by overlook areas that extend out from the bridge over the water. These overlooks (also known as pedestrian bump-outs or belvederes) have an unobstructed view of the stunning waterfront areas of both Kittery and Portsmouth. Two of these overlooks are located on the Kittery-side of the new bridge and two are located on the Portsmouth-side.
This modern design has also enabled the project team to significantly shorten the overall schedule, allowing the bridge to open up for everyone’s use five months ahead of a typical schedule for a project of this scale and complexity.
The overall basic approach to the design for the new Memorial Bridge has, at its core, two fundamental goals:
Goal 1) Optimize the design with a perspective focused on safety, long-term durability, and cost savings realized both in the short-term and long-term.
Goal 2) Maximize the speed and ease of fabrication, transportation and construction so the community gets their new bridge in-place – fast.