U.S. 1 Bypass - Portsmouth / Kittery

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Sarah Mildred Long Bridge - Kittery, ME
The Sarah Mildred Long Bridge across the Piscataqua River opened as the Maine-New Hampshire Bridge in 1940. The span honored Sarah Mildred Long, a former Maine-New Hampshire Interstate Bridge Authority executive director.1

U.S. 1 Bypass provides an alternate route to U.S. 1 across the Piscataqua River between Portsmouth, New Hampshire and Kittery. The US route leads northward from Lafayette Road in Portsmouth, New Hampshire along an urban expressway to Portsmouth Circle, where U.S. 4 west and NH 16 (Spaulding Turnpike) begin. Turning east from the circle and ramps to I-95, U.S. 1 Bypass travels below Woodbury and Maplewood Avenues and crosses the Piscataqua River between Nobles Island and Oak Terrace within the town of Kittery, Maine. The route angles more northerly through Kittery to an interchange with State Route 236 at Remicks Corners ahead of the merge with U.S. 1 near Spruce Creek.

Changes to U.S. 1 Bypass in Portsmouth were made between September 18, 2012 and August 2014 with the replacement of the wye interchange at Lafayette Road (U.S. 1 north into Portsmouth) with an at-grade intersection. The $4.8 million project1 at Lafayette Road preceded work through Fall 2016 to replace overpasses at Middle Road, Islington Street, Woodbury Avenue, Stark Street and Maplewood Avenue.2 The bridges between Lafayette Road and Portsmouth Circle dated to 1939.1

Further work between 2015 and late 2017 focused on replacing the 1940-built Sarah Mildred Long Bridge across the Piscataqua River. The $170 million project was funded jointly by the Maine and New Hampshire Departments of Transportation.2 Preliminary work consolidated the connectors from U.S. 1 Bypass to State Route 103 at Oak Terrace. Traffic lights were activated on January 22, 2015 at a new intersection with Bridge Street.2 The new traffic pattern provided connections from U.S. 1 Bypass south to Bridge Street and from Bridge Street to the Piscataqua River bridge, eliminating the previous movement along the Oak Terrace loop.

The Sarah Mildred Long Bridge closed to traffic permanently on August 21, 2016, following the failure of a mechanism used in lifting the center span to accommodate boating traffic. The bridge was slated for removal on November 1, 2016. The time needed and costs associated with repairing the lift mechanism, coupled with the pending removal of the span, led officials to raise the bridge and ultimately remove the center span.3

Kittery, ME - 1964

Until 1972, U.S. 1 Bypass provided the connection between the Maine and New Hampshire Turnpikes. The free section of Interstate 95 between the two toll roads was built in response to traffic congestion along the non-limited access U.S. 1 Bypass.

Portsmouth, NH - 1975
The 1975 Official New Hampshire Highway Map showed all of U.S. 1 Bypass as a limited access highway.
U.S. 1 Bypass South
U.S. 1 Bypass south leaves the interchange with U.S. 1 south and SR 236 (Harold L. Dow Highway) and approaches a signalized intersection with Gorges Road. Several businesses including a truck stop and hotel line the highway ahead of SR 103. 07/29/07
U.S. 1 Bypass widens to four lanes between Gorges Road and a point ahead of the SR 103 connector (Bridge Street). The right lane used to default onto Oak Terrace ahead of the Piscataqua River lift bridge. Changes made by January 2015 added a left turn onto Bridge Street, eliminating the movement to SR 103 by way of Oak Terrace. 07/29/07
U.S. 1 Bypass reassurance shield posted south of the intersection with Gorges Road. 07/29/07
A second draw bridge warning sign precedes the SR 103 under crossing along U.S. 1 Bypass south. 07/29/07
SR 103 (Dennett Road) passes underneath U.S. 1 Bypass with no direct access. The state route links Kittery with South Elliot and Elliot Center to the north. Southward, SR 103 continues to the Kittery town center, Kittery Foreside and Seavy Island, home of Portsmouth Naval Base. 07/29/07
Until January 22, 2015, Oak Terrace looped underneath U.S. 1 Bypass at the Piscataqua River to SR 103 at Bridge Street. Changes made here added a traffic light and left turn to Bridge Street directly. Oak Terrace remains in use as a local road to the Oak Terrace community. 03/26/13
U.S. 1 Bypass crossed the Piscatagua River on the Sarah Mildred Long Bridge. An advisory sign indicated that the bridge lifted every 30 minutes between 7:15 AM to 6:45 PM. 07/29/07
3 photos
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3 photos
Views of the Piscataqua River lift bridge from southbound along U.S. 1 Bypass. Below the former roadway deck was a second deck carrying a railroad line. The New Hampshire state line lies roughly midway across the river. 03/26/13, 07/29/07
U.S. 1 Bypass entered New Hampshire at the south tower of the Sarah Mildred Long Bridge across the Piscataqua River. The two lane route passed over Nobles Island, Market Street and North Mill Pond before touching down in Portsmouth. 07/29/07
U.S. 1 Bypass entered New Hampshire at the south tower of the Sarah Mildred Long Bridge across the Piscataqua River. The two-lane route passed over Nobles Island, Market Street and North Mill Pond before touching down in Portsmouth. 07/29/07
U.S. 1 Bypass south at the access road to Albacore Park and Market Street. The wider area of pavement here once housed a toll plaza. 07/29/07
A loop ramp previously departed U.S. 1 Bypass for Albacore Park ahead of the Maplewood Avenue overpass. This ramp closed by 2011. 07/29/07
Maplewood Avenue passes over U.S. 1 Bypass from Downtown Portsmouth northwest to Woodbury Avenue. Cutts Street connects the US route with Maplewood Avenue in 500 feet. 03/26/13
Maplewood Avenue leads motorists north to Newington by way of Woodbury Avenue. Woodbury Avenue is the former alignment of both U.S. 4 and NH 16 leading north from Portsmouth to the General Sullivan Bridge into Dover. U.S. 1 Bypass meets the Spaulding Turnpike directly at the upcoming Portsmouth Circle. 03/26/13
Four lanes of U.S. 1 Bypass continue southwest below the Stark Street overpass to Portsmouth Circle and the south end of the Spaulding Turnpike (NH 16) and east end of U.S. 4. 03/26/13
A low clearance overpass carries Woodbury Avenue (former U.S. 4/NH 16) across U.S. 1 Bypass. A folded diamond interchange joins the avenue with the four lane expressway below. 03/26/13
A loop ramp departs for Woodbury Avenue, which leads south to a residential area and north to Newington and The Mall at Fox Run. 07/29/07
Entering Portsmouth Circle, U.S. 1 Bypass first encounters the Spaulding Turnpike (NH 16) north to Dover, Rochester and Union and U.S. 4 west to Durham and Concord. 03/26/13
Continuing through the rotary, U.S. 1 Bypass meets the ramp for Interstate 95 (Blue Star Turnpike). This ramp represented the I-95 mainline until the Piscataqua Bridge was completed in 1972. 03/26/13
The ramp from Portsmouth Circle to I-95 provides two lanes for the Blue Star Turnpike south to Hampton and Boston, Massachusetts and a loop ramp back north into Maine. 03/26/13
U.S. 1 Bypass scenes
Oak Terrace spurred west from U.S. 1 Bypass north beside the Piscataqua River lift bridge along the east banks of the river. The road continued to Bridge Street at Old Post Road until January 2015, when the connection was permanently closed. 07/29/07
Oak Terrace spurred west from U.S. 1 Bypass north beside the Piscataqua River lift bridge along the east banks of the river. The road continued to Bridge Street at Old Post Road until January 2015, when the connection permanently closed. 07/29/07
The west end of Oak Terrace previously connected Bridge Street and SR 103 with U.S. 1 Bypass south into Portsmouth, New Hampshire. This movement was eliminated in January 2015 when a new traffic light was activated allowing left turns from Bridge Street to the Sarah Mildred Long Bridge.
Reference to NH 101 here was not for the freeway between the Seacoast and Manchester, but rather the former alignment of NH 101 west from Portsmouth to Exeter (now a part of NH 33). 07/29/07

Sources:
  1. "N.H. DOT project aims to revamp Route 1 Bypass." Seacoastonline.com, September 3, 2012.
  2. New Hampshire DOT Portsmouth - STP-X-5379(025) 13455 US Route 1 Bypass PDF file, accessed January 29, 2015.
  3. "Sarah Long Bridge Permanently Closed to Vehicular Traffic." New Hampshire DOT, news release. August 24, 2016.


Photo Credits:

    07/29/07 by AARoads. 03/26/13 by I.C. Ligget.

Connect with:
Interstate 95 - Blue Star Turnpike
U.S. 1
U.S. 4

Page Updated 11-22-2016.

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