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Malfunction Closes Sarah Mildred Long Bridge

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A malfunction during a lift opening on the Sarah Mildred Long Bridge in Portsmouth was to blame for a 2-hour closure of the bridge that passes over the Piscataqua River into Maine.

State Department of Transportation spokesman Bill Boynton tells The Portsmouth Herald that a span lock on the bridge malfunctioned Wednesday during a 5 p.m. lift opening. Travelers along the U.S. Route 1 Bypass encountered bridge gates that remained closed and a traffic light that refused to turn green.

Boynton says the computer system won't allow the lift operation to complete when a lock span doesn't engage, which prevents the bridge from reopening to traffic.

Traffic continued to build up as motorists waited for the light to change. The bridge didn't reopen until approximately 7:30 p.m.

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